“Laws regarding Geographical Indication Tag”- By Yashika Soni
Meaning of a GI tag:
A Geographical Indication (GI) tag is a type of intellectual property, a certification granted to certain items or products from a specific location, state, or nation that are unique to that area. India is a World Trade Organization member, passed The Geographical Indications Of Goods (Registration And Protection) Act, 1999 from 15th September 2003.
A Geographical Indication, like other Intellectual Property Rights, is a non-physical asset that combines special rights and advantages to create a legal claim to future benefits. GI items are often agricultural, natural, or made items such as handicrafts. It is a mark or symbol used to identify a certain product.
Geographical Indications are an important aspect of the development process that promotes economic goals. These tags are used to safeguard natural resource and manufactured products ownership rights. Because GIs are collectively held by the state, they cannot be sold, rented, or transferred. GI tags on items prohibit illicit usage and provide financial advantage for producers by exporting the products.
How is a GI tag granted in India?
The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 grants the Geographical Indication tag. All producers of goods or organisations are eligible to apply for GI. The geographical map of the territory or region in the nation where the products are made, as well as the class of goods to which it applies, must be included in the application. It must be in a prescribed form and a particular fee should be submitted along with a signature.
Groups of authorities will study and assess the application. To claim any rights in relation to such an indication, it is necessary to have the GI registered. A GI tag on a product prohibits unlawful usage and increases financial gain for manufacturers by exporting the goods. The price of a GI product rises on the international market as exports rise. Sec. 21 of the GI Act states that registration provides a right to file a suit for infringement. Sec. 23 attests to the existence of prima facie proof of GI ownership and validity.
Laws regarding Geographical Indications and GI tags
The TRIPS Agreement establishes minimum requirements for the protection of GI that must be met by all WTO members. TRIPS Part II Section 3 establishes rules for the availability, scope, and application of GI. TRIPS Article 22 deals with the protection of Geographic Indication. The following is a list of the provisions:
Geographical indications (GIs) designate a good as having originated in the territory of a member nation when the good's reputation or feature can be traced back to its location.
The member nations shall establish legislative mechanisms to prevent:
Usage or exhibition of the commodity to deceive the public about its geographical origin,
Any usage of that good that constitutes an act of unfair competition within the meaning of Article 10 bis of the Paris Convention (1967).
A member country's legislation may deny or invalidate a trademark for a GI for products not originating in the territory covered if the member country's use of that good may deceive the public about the precise place of origin.
The GI for wines and spirits is given further protection under TRIPS Article 23. In addition, the Paris Convention, Lisbon Agreement, Madrid Agreement, and Protocol for the Madrid Agreement, among others, are managed by the WIPO and deal in part or entirely with the protection of GI.
The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, as well as the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002, were enacted in India in order to comply with TRIPS.
Gruyere cheese from Switzerland, Mexican tequila, Roquefort cheese from France, Georgian wines, and Pinggu peaches from China are just a few of the well-known international GI Tags.
Many major items have been given GI tags in India, including Darjeeling Tea, Alphonso Mango, Kanchipuram Silk Saree, Basmati Rice, Kolhapuri Chappal, and others, for which the Indian government had to fight a legal struggle for decades in international courts to obtain the tag.