A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used on goods that
have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, reputation
or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that origin. The
Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999
main Act which has been enacted to provide for the registration and better
protection of geographical indications (GIs) relating to goods. According
to the Act, the term 'geographical indication' (in relation to goods)
means "an indication which identifies such goods as agricultural
goods, natural goods or manufactured goods as originating, or manufactured
in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory,
where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of such goods
is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and in case where
such goods are manufactured goods, one of the activities of either the
production or of processing or preparation of the goods concerned takes
place in such territory, region or locality, as the case may be".
of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, under the Department
of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry
of Commerce and Industry, is the 'Registrar of Geographical Indications'.
It directs and supervises the functioning of the Geographical Indications
Registry (GIR), which in turn administers the Geographical Indication
of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999 and the Rules thereunder.
GIs are source identifiers as they help the consumers to
identify the place of origin of the goods as well as act as the indicator
to the quality, reputation and other distinctive characteristics of goods,
that are essentially due to that place of origin.
Any duplication and false use of GIs by unauthorized parties
is detrimental for both the consumers as well as legitimate producers.
Because of this, former are likely to be deceived as they get a worthless
imitation of product, which they buy by considering as genuine product
with specific qualities and characteristics. While, the producers suffer
losses and damages as their valuable business is taken away from them
and their established reputation for the products is damaged.
The benefits of registration of geographical indications
are:- (i) provides legal protection to Geographical Indications in India,
which in turn gives boost to the exports; (ii) prevents unauthorised use
of a Registered Geographical Indication by others; (iii) promotes economic
prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory;
(iv) promotes consumers' welfare by providing goods of reputation and
However, there are some of the GIs which are not registrable
under the Act, about which consumers must be fully aware. These are:-
- When GI has become a generic name,that is, names of those
goods which have lost their original meaning and are used as common
- If use of GI is likely to deceive public, cause confusions,
or is contrary to any law in force;
- GIs which comprises scandalous or obscene matter or hurt
any section of the society, etc.
If a geographical term is used as the designation of a kind
of product, rather than an indication of the place of origin of that product,
this term does no longer function as a GI. It has been recognised that
consumers need to be made aware of this fact as well.