Knowl­edge Zone

GEO­GRAPH­I­CAL IN­DI­CA­TION

India Business Journal - - CONTENTS -

San­jeev Ku­mar Gupta, chair­man, Lib­erty House

- Geo­graph­i­cal In­di­ca­tion

Spir­i­tual Cor­ner: Sci­ence of Karma

Last Novem­ber, Roso­golla and seven

other prod­ucts were awarded Geo­graph­i­cal In­di­ca­tion (GI) sta­tus, tak­ing the to­tal GI-reg­is­tered prod­ucts in In­dia to 342. Last Novem­ber also brought an end to the bit­ter bat­tle for the iconic sweet, Roso­golla, be­tween West Ben­gal and Odisha, with the former get­ting the right over the syrupy sweet.

So, what is this GI sta­tus, and how does it help the prod­ucts so reg­is­tered? GI is a name or sign used on prod­ucts which cor­re­spond to a spe­cific geo­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion or ori­gin (for in­stance, a town, a re­gion or a coun­try). The use of a GI as a type of in­di­ca­tion of source 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.

Gov­ern­ments have been pro­tect­ing trade names and trade­marks used in re­la­tion to food prod­ucts iden­ti­fied with a par­tic­u­lar re­gion since at least the end of the 19th cen­tury, us­ing laws against false trade de­scrip­tions, which gen­er­ally pro­tect against sug­ges­tions that a prod­uct has a cer­tain ori­gin, qual­ity or as­so­ci­a­tion when it does not. In such cases, the lim­i­ta­tion on com­pet­i­tive free­doms which re­sults from the grant of a mo­nop­oly of use over a geo­graph­i­cal in­di­ca­tion is jus­ti­fied by gov­ern­ments ei­ther by con­sumer pro­tec­tion ben­e­fits or by pro­ducer pro­tec­tion ben­e­fits.

Since the first GI was reg­is­tered in In­dia in 2004, 342 GIs have been granted in the coun­try by Chen­naibased Geo­graph­i­cal In­di­ca­tions Registry. Last Novem­ber, along with Roso­golla, Ban­gana­palle man­goes of Andhra Pradesh, Tu­la­panji rice of

West Ben­gal, Pocham­pally Ikat silk sa­rees of Te­lan­gana, Gobindob­hog rice of West Ben­gal, Durgi stone carv­ings and Etikop­paka toys of Andhra Pradesh and Chak­sh­e­sang shawl of Na­ga­land were given the GI sta­tus. Some other prod­ucts from In­dia to get the tag in­clude Dar­jeel­ing tea, Mad­hubani paint­ings, Kash­mir pash­mina and Nag­pur oranges.

Geo­graph­i­cal in­di­ca­tions are gen­er­ally tra­di­tional prod­ucts, pro­duced by ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties over gen­er­a­tions, which have gained a rep­u­ta­tion on the mar­kets for their spe­cific qual­i­ties. The recog­ni­tion and pro­tec­tion on the mar­kets of the names of these prod­ucts al­lows the com­mu­nity of pro­duc­ers to in­vest in main­tain­ing the spe­cific qual­i­ties of the prod­uct on which the rep­u­ta­tion is built. In short, the GI tag pro­tects and pro­motes lo­cal prod­ucts and the lo­cal econ­omy.

West Ben­gal's Roso­golla re­cently got the GI tag, tak­ing the num­ber of GIreg­is­tered prod­ucts in In­dia to 342.

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