GI signifies the name or sign used in reference to the products corresponding to the particular geographical area or somewhat related to the origin, like the town, region, or nation. Thus, GI grants the rights to its holder that acts as the certification mark and shows that the specified product consists of some qualities and is enjoying a good reputation due to its origin from the specified geographical location explained by Edge Legal.
The TRIPs agreement has defined the “geographical indications rights” as the exclusionary rights for the indicator that identify the goods originated within the member nation territories, or area or region of that territory, where the reputation or other attributes of the goods is essentially related to the geographic origin of the place. GIs are a part of the intellectual property law and, therefore, like any other law, the regulation and governing conditions of GI also vary from one country to another as high differences have been found in the use of generic terms across the world. Such a case is prominent for food and beverages, which more commonly use geographic terms.
GIs are aimed toward identifying the source of the product and are considered a valuable business tool. The global trade has made it crucial to harmonize the various approaches and methods that the governments use for registering the GIs in their respective territories.
Geographical Indications Act in India
In India, the GIs regime is regulated by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, and the Geographical Indication of Goods (Regulation and Protection) Rules, 2002.
However, registering of the GI is not compulsory in India as the owner of the unregistered GI can also enforce the actions with the help of passing off against the infringer, but it is recommendable to register the GI as the registration certificate acts as the prima facie evidence in the court at the time of arising of any dispute, and no additional evidence is required to prove the validity. Examples of some of the popular GIs are – Basmati Rice, Kanjeepuram sarees, and Darjeeling tea. In the Indian act, GI is used for identifying goods from a particular geographical location and their origin. It encircles the agricultural goods and natural goods and is extended up to the manufactured goods also. In order to register the GI, the goods should possess unique characteristics and reputation with other qualities attributed to its geographical origin, e.g. climate, quality of soil, processing methods, etc