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Registering Geographical Indications

Registering Geographical Indications

The Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) is situated at Chennai. Its main function is registration of Geographical Indications (GIs) under the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. The law came into force on 15th September 2003. GIR has registered about 40 Geographical Indications so far and many applications are under various stages of processing.

The Registry also continues to carry out awareness generation activities and guidance to potential applicants with regard to the protection of names of goods which originate in a specific and identifiable geographical territory within the country in order to safeguard the intellectual property inherent in such indications of source. The sectors being concentrated are tea, coffee, rice, spices, tobacco, handloom products, handicrafts, textiles, processed food items, and spirits and wines. Numerous sensitization workshops on the new legislation have been conducted. A documentation center and library with books and CD-ROMs has also been established.

Importance of Registering Geographical Indications

A properly protected GI will give protection to such goods in domestic as well as international market. Geographical indications have proved to be very valuable as they identify the source of the product and are an indicator of quality. Mostly, a geographical indication consists of the name of the place, which is the origin of the goods, such as “Darjeeling” (India) for tea, “Stilton” (England) for cheese, “Swiss” (Switzerland) for chocolate, “Roquefort” (France) for cheese etc.

The use of geographical indications is not limited to agricultural products. They may also highlight peculiar qualities of a product, which are due to human factors, such as specific manufacturing skills and traditions. According to TRIPS, a Geographical Indications which is not or ceases to be protected in its country of origin or which has fallen into disuse in that country cannot be protected. Thus

Registration of GI confers legal protection to your goods that are registered under the Act Thereby preventing unauthorized use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others as it facilitate an action for infringement exclusive right to use the geographical indication
It provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications, which in turn boost exports.
It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.

When is a GI not Registrable

A GI will not be registered

When GI has become a generic name, that is, names of those goods which have lost their original meaning and are used as common names
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.

The Scientist, the Patent and the Mangoes - Tripling the Mango Yield in the Philippines

By Elizabeth March, WIPO Magazine Editorial Team** Source: WIPO Magazine Issue No. 6/2008 dated June 2008
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