Introduction


Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refers to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product.


The year 2007-08 recorded a surge in the registration of Geographical Indications (GIs). During the year, 31 GIs were registered. This is more than the total number of GIs registered during all the previous years since the registration process commenced in India. The total number of GI products registered in the country now stands at 61.


The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 was brought into force on 15 September 2003. This is a sui generic legislation intended to give better protection to GIs of India. The registration is done by the Geographical Indications Registry at Chennai.


Few Examples of Geographical Indications


India: Orissa's unique Kotpad tribal textile designs to be patented


State Government has initiated the procedure to patent the exclusive and original textile designs from Orissa, so that the textile companies are unable to replicate them. Kotpad design of tribals belonging to undivided Koraput district has already been registered while textile designs from Sambalpuri, Berhampuri, Bomkei, Nuapatna and Sonepuri will be patented soon. A project is being developed by the Xavier's Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, for reforming Sambalpuri Vastraly, a state cooperative enterprise, supported by National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), which would be then approved by the Centre.


Kutchi craftsmen apply for geographical patent indicator


The Kutchi weavers, Jamnagar bandhini artisans and Ajrak printing craftsmen, who are trying to protect their traditional knowledge by patenting them under the Geographical Indication Act (GIA) will soon join the league of the traditional embroiders of Kutch. These traditional embroiders have got their traditional craft patented last year. Efforts have also been taken to patent wood carving, pottery, lacquer work, batik and cowbells specific to the region, in the next phase, for which the stakeholders of Kutchi handicrafts formed an association. The GIA protects the particular form of handicrafts from its misuse and commercialization by patenting it in the name of community that holds the traditional wisdom of crafting it. The Kutchi embroidery was patented last year, in the name of embroidery workers from the community under GIA. The stakeholders in the other forms of handicrafts have now come together to protect the traditional crafts that could be called quintessentially Kutchi.


GI registration conferred upon Muga silk


Bringing cheer to the manufacturers, Assam's famous golden-yellow Muga silk has been granted Geographical Indication (GI) registration by Chennai's GI Registry. This is the first time that a product from Assam has got the prestigious GI recognition. According to sources, the registration, which was done on July 20 2008, was based on Muga silk's uniqueness and its traditional history which is intricately woven with that of Assam's. Muga silk is obtained from the silkworm Antheraea assamensis found in Assam. It has a natural golden colour and shiny texture. Its luster increases with every wash. It is also used to make the mekhela-chador, a traditional dress worn by brides and women taking part in bihu dances. Muga is in great demand in Japan, where it is used to make kimonos. Other countries importing the rich silk are the USA, Greece, Germany, South Africa and France.

 

The GIs registered during 2007-08, inter alia, include Muga Silk from Assam, Madhubani Paintings from Bihar, Aleppy Coir, Navara and Palakkadan Mutta Rice varieties, Malabar Pepper and Aleppy Green Cardamom from Kerala, Salem and Arani Silks and Kovai Cora Cotton from Tamil Nadu, Allahabad Surkha from Uttar Pradesh, Nakshi Kantha from West Bengal, Silver Filigree from Andhra Pradesh, and Ilkal Sarees and Monsooned Malabar Coffees from Karnataka and Kerala.


During 2007-08, the Geographical Indications Registry received 37 applications which include Bagh Prints of Dhar from Madhya Pradesh, Banaras Brocades and Sarees and Lucknow Chikan Craft from Uttar Pradesh, Kutch Embroidery from Gujarat, Naga Mircha from Nagaland, Fazli Mango from West Bengal, Pipli Applique Work from Orissa, Goan Cashew Feni from Goa, Assam Tea from Assam, and Nilgiri Tea from Tamil Nadu. These and other applications are under various stages of processing.


In order to give a boost to the registration of GIs, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recently addressed all State Governments to take initiative in promoting registration of GIs of their states.


Registration Details of G.I Applications 2003-2008

S. No

Product

State

Geographical Indications

1

Tea

West Bengal

Darjeeling Tea (word & logo)

2

Handicrafts

Kerala

Aranmula Kannadi

3

Textiles

Andhra Pradesh

Pochampalli Ikat

4

Textiles

Tamil Nadu

Salem Fabric

5

Textiles

Madhya Pradesh

Chanderi Fabric

6

Textiles

Maharashtra

Solapur Chaddar

7

Textiles

Maharashtra

Solapur Terry Towel

8

Textiles

Orrissa

Kotpad Handloom fabric

9

Textiles

Karnataka

Mysore Silk

10

Textiles

Rajasthan

Kota Doria

11

Incense Sticks

Karnataka

Mysore Agarbathi

12

Textiles

Tamil Nadu

Kancheepuram Silk

13

Textiles, Carpets

Tamil Nadu

Bhavani Jamakkalam

14

Textiles

Himachal Pradesh

Kullu Shawl

15

Handicrafts

Karnataka

Bidriware

16

Textiles

Tamil Nadu

Madurai Sungudi

17

Textiles

Orissa

Orissa Ikat

18

Handicrafts

Karnataka

Channapatna Toys & Dolls

19

Handicrafts

Karnataka

Mysore Rosewood Inlay

20

Tea

Himachal Pradesh

Kangra Tea

21

Wet Grinder

Tamil Nadu

Coimbatore Wet Grinder

22

Textiles

Andhra Pradesh

Srikalahasthi Kalamkari

 

 

23

Essential Oil

Karnataka

Mysore Sandalwood Oil

24

Soap

Karnataka

Mysore Sandal soap

25

Embroidery (Textiles)

Karnataka

Kasuti Embroidery

26

Paintings

Karnataka

Mysore Traditional Paintings

27

Horticulture Product

Karnataka

Coorg Orange

28

Horticulture Product

Karnataka

Mysore Betel leaf

29

Horticulture Product

Karnataka

Nanjanagud Banana

30

Paintings

Bihar

Madhubani Paintings

31

Handicrafts

Andhra Pradesh

Kondapalli Bommallu

32

Paintings

Tamil Nadu

Thanjavur Paintings

33

Handicrafts

Andhra Pradesh

Silver Filigree of Karimnagar

34

Coir Products

Kerala

Alleppey Coir

35

Textiles

Assam

Muga Silk

36

Handicrafts

Tamil Nadu

Temple Jewellery of Nagercoil

37

Horticulture

Karnataka

Mysore Jasmine

38

Horticulture

Karnataka

Udupi Jasmine

39

Horticulture

Karnataka

Hadagali Jasmine

40

Agricultural Products

Kerala

Navara Rice

41

Agricultural Products

Kerala

Palakkadan Matta Rice

42

Handicrafts

Tamil Nadu

Thanjavur Art Plate

43

Textiles

Karnataka

Ilkal Sarees

44

Handicrafts

Bihar

Applique - Khatwa Patch Work of Bihar

45

Handicrafts

Bihar

Sujini Embroidery Work of Bihar

46

Handicrafts

Bihar

Sikki Grass Work of Bihar

47

Agricultural Products

Kerala

Malabar Pepper

48

Guava

Uttar Pradesh

Allahabad Surkha

49

Textiles

New Delhi

Nakshi Kantha

*50

Handicrafts

Karnataka

Ganjifa cards of Mysore (Karnataka)

51

Textiles

Karnataka

Navalgund Durries

52

Handicrafts

Karnataka

Karnataka Bronze Ware

53

Textiles

Karnataka

Molakalmuru Sarees

54

Coffee

Karnataka

Monsooned Malabar Arabica Coffee

55

Coffee

Karnataka

Monsooned Malabar Robusta Coffee

56

Agricultural Products

Kerala

Spices - Alleppey Green Cardamom

57

Agricultural Products

Karnataka

Coorg Green Cardamom

58

E. I. Leather

Tamil Nadu

E. I. Leather

59

Textiles and Textile Goods

Tamil Nadu

Salem Silk

60

Textiles and Textile Goods

Tamil Nadu

Kovai Cora Cotton

*61

Textiles and Textile Goods

Tamil Nadu

Arani Silk


*50-61 - Would Be Forwarded for Registration Certificate Signing On 30-03-2008 and would be despatched to the respective Registered Proprietors on 31-03-2008.

 

Conclusion


Geographical Identification in handloom sector introduced to protect identity of product but after getting GI weavers are facing problems of duplication for example, Last year, in September, after a protracted litigation, the Kashmiri Pashmina received the Geographical Indications of Goods patent, which is akin to an intellectual property rights. But the benefits that were supposed to accrue from the patent, have been washed away due to the global economic turmoil. The Kashmiri Pashmina is facing the same troubles, which is being faced by another traditional industry of the Kashmir valley; carpets. As it is the Pashmina was facing troubles due to the prevalence of fakes which was decimating the original, as the customers are not able to distinguish between an original and fake Pashmina. In the way that droves of craftsmen are leaving the carpet manufacturing industry for better pastures, the Pashmina industry is also feeling the same pangs, as traditional weavers are deserting the trade as income has gone down drastically, more so to do with the recessionary trends prevailing in global markets.


References: