Protection of Geographical Indications from infringement


The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the aegis of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), launched a social media campaign to promote Geographical Indications (GIs).

What are Intellectual Property Rights?

  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are legal rights, which result from intellectual invention, innovation and discovery in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields.
  • These rights entitle an individual or group to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creation.

What are the types of IPRs?

  • Patent-It is a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention
  • Copyright-It is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive right for its use and distribution. It includes literary & artistic works such as novels, poems, plays, films, musical works, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, architectural designs
  • Trademark-It is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. Trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks.
  • Industrial design right-It is an intellectual property right that protects the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian. An industrial design consists of the creation of a shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color, or combination of pattern and color in three-dimensional form containing aesthetic value.
  • Trade secret-It is a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, commercial method, or compilation of information which is not generally known or reasonably ascertainable by others, and by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers
  • Geographical Indication (GI)- It is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country). The use of a geographical indication may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin. A recent example is of Indian variety of Basmati rice getting GI tag.

What is a Geographical Indication?

  • A geographical indication (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
  • The qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin.

How are geographical indications protected?

Under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), WTO members have a mandatory responsibility to recognize and protect GIs as intellectual property rights.

There are three main ways to protect a geographical indication:

  • so-called Sui generis system (i.e. special regimes of protection);
  • using collective or certificate and
  • Methods focusing on business practices, including administrative product approval schemes.

What is Geographical Indication of Goods Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act)?

  • TheGeographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act) is a   sui generis   act of Parliament for protection of  geographical indications in India.
  • The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged   product in India, in 2004–05, since then 261 goods had been added to the list as of June 2016.

Why GIs are important?

  • GIs are of utmost importance to the country as they are an integral part of India’s rich culture and collective intellectual heritage.
  • Goods branded as GIs can be made indigenously by local communities independently and in a self-sustaining manner.
  • It Prevents unauthorised use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others
  • It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.
  • GIs can also promote rural development in a significant manner and could be fitted in as the most ideal intellectual property right to bolster a programme such as ‘Make in India’.
  • A GI is supposed to convey to a consumer the assurance of a certain quality, reputation or other characteristics of the goods on which it is applied, which are essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

What are the government steps ?

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently released India’s new National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy

What is the National IPR Policy?

According to the government, the National IPR Policy is aims to create and exploit synergies between all forms of intellectual property (IP), concerned statutes and agencies.

  • It sets in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review.
  • It aims to incorporate and adapt global best practices to the Indian scenario.
  1. Human Capital Development: To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.



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