What is a Geographical Indication(GI)?
- A GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
- It works as an intellectual property right in law, wherein a product belongs exclusively to a particular territory
- In India, Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 prescribes uniform standards for the protection of geographical indication and govern GI registrations of goods
Difference between GI and other Intellectual Property Rights
|Collective intellectual property right- owned by all the producers within the defined GI territory||Owned by an individual or a business entity.|
|Commercial use benefit all the producers in the GI territory||Commercial use (for e.g. patented product) benefit an innovator or a particular firm|
Significance of GIs
- GI tag provides recognition and protection of economic livelihoods to communities who depend entirely on the market success of their indigenous products.
- It acts as a marker of authenticity and safeguards the interests and efforts of the communities
- Boost sales and exports, as the geographical limitation on production and official recognition of historical and cultural significance increase demand and create a legacy.
- Help promote tourism and rural development and address poverty issues
Why has the potential of GI not yet realised in India?
- Filing a GI application remains a cumbersome process as result of which only about 320 products have been registered with GI registry
- There has been overemphasis on GI registration. Post registration activities in terms of utilising the GI certification as a marketing/branding tool to benefit the producers has not been taken up properly
- There is lack of awareness about GI tags among all stakeholder- Producers, trade facilitators, consumers
- According to the law, any one who ‘deals’/ ‘exploits’ the GI product is a producer and thus could include a wide range of stakeholders including a trade facilitator, online marketer etc. This ambiguity in law often leads to infringement of GI
Government’s Move to raise awareness- Introduction of GI Logo
The GoI launched a GI Logo and Tagline in 2018 to promote awareness and outreach on GIs. GI logo can be used to identify all registered GIs irrespective of the categories
- There is a need to widely popularize the GI logo so that consumers associate the GI logo with the uniqueness and authenticity of GI products
- The use of common GI logo should be made be inclusive of all the stake holders in the value chain
- In addition to producer organizations, other stakeholders like traders, processors, packagers etc. of a particular GI product should be organised into associations. These stakeholders should use the logo in all their transactions to promote the sale of genuine GI products
- Signboards with GI logos should be put up on the national highways or major bus/railway stations/airports about the GI Production centres in that region and information about the sales points where the products may be procured.