Abstract

Geographical Indications in specific are the neglected areas in producers due to unawareness. The benefits of the GI act have not been exploited by the producers either by registering the products for GI, displaying the logos, names or labels of GI to get benefits. The textile industry plays very significant role in Indian Economy, and handloom sector dominates, however it only contributes very less in GI registration.

The indigenous skills, technique and identity in handlooms, textiles and handicraft can be protected by GI application in the domestic and international market.

The article focuses on the importance of GI index.

Key words: GI – Geographical indications

INTRODUCTION 

Textile industry for geographical indication in India

India is known for its rich cultural heritage of textile industry. It is the ancient industrial and trade activity of India. Indian Textile Industry is one of the leading textile industries in the world. Despite the unorganized nature of industry, it plays a significant role in the economy. Handloom sector dominates the indigenous art and crafts. An era of LPG (Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization) has changed the economic structure across the world. The international trade laws like GATT, WTO, IPRs, TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of intellectual Property Rights) and Geographical Indications (GI) has changed the facets of international trade. The textile trade has also seen the challenges and evolved in the new trading procedures. Geographical Indications has proved to be a very significant aspect for the textile industry of the developing country like India.

Handloom sector being one of the important parts of Indian Textile industry and Indian Textile export, GI registration has been proved to be an important tool of competitiveness in domestic and international market

Geographical indications

The Geographical Indication means an indication which define goods originating in a certain territory and having a given quality reputation or other Characteristics essentially attributable to their geographical origin. The geographical indication can have a reference to the agricultural produce, natural processes. Such goods must have a reputation and quality which are attributable to the place of origin, environment and other inherent natural and human factors .The indication here may mean, the name of the geographical area or any figurative representation suggesting the geographical Origin of the product.

The Act called Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Prohibition) was passed in the year 1999.

PROTECTION

The protection is granted to geographical indications through registration. The registering authority is the Registrar of Geographical Indications. The registration of geographical indications is not granted to any individual. It is a national property. It is granted to associations of persons or producers or to an organization or authority representing the interest of the producers of goods.

The applications made for registration of geographical indications must state:

  • How the goods produced, processed or manufactured in the specified locality have achieved a reputation for their quality and other characteristics.
  • That the reputation so built is exclusive to that territory
  • That the reputation is so built is inherently natural and traceable to geographical environment and human factors prevalent in that territory

And shall enclose:

  • A statement containing particulars of the producers of the concerned goods proposed to be initially registered who shall be entitled to use geographical indication.
  • A geographical map of the territory in which the goods originally originated and are being manufactured.

PROCEDURE FOR REGISTRATION

Registrar at the appropriate office of the Geographical Indication Registry. Every application for registration of a G.I. shall state the principal place of business in India. And follow the procedure stated by ‘Geographical Indication Registry’.

The application for registration is filed; the Registrar will examine the content of several prohibitions which resettle the applicant to get the geographical indication registered. If the proposed geographical indication contains any scandalous or obscene matter or any matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities if the use of which would be a controversy in any law, the registrar will refuse registration. The registrar will not grant the registration for names which are generic and also to such generic words which were once recognized as geographic indications but reverted to their original meaning and become common names.

Period of validity

The Registration of geographical indication is valid for a period of ten years to begin with.

It is renewable for further periods of ten years successively.

If, on account of failure to renew registration of geographical indication, the registration lapses it shall however, be deemed to be geographical indication for the further period of two years.

Since the users registration expires with the termination of owner’s registration both should be kept alive so long as there are users of the registered geographical indication.

RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS

 GIs are collective rights owned by the concerned communities.

The Registered Proprietor of geographical indication and the authorized users shall have exclusive right to use the geographical indication in relation to the goods in respect of which the geographical indication is registered.

The geographical indication can be used by the registered users by printing it on packages and containers. It may be embossed or woven into or affixed to the goods, it may be used in letter heads an in all advertising material including the electronic media and display. The geographical indication may be used in labels and in water marks.

The rights to geographical indication are not transferable in any manner as licensing, pledge, mortgage or sale. The rights are however, heritable. They cannot be transferred through a will.

The authorized user when he sells goods, he is deemed to warrant that the goods supplied by him are genuine and that geographical indication used is not falsely acquired or falsely applied.

GI Administration in India

The Geographical Indications Registry is a statutory organization, its office is set up at Chennai for administration of the GI Act with the objective of providing registration and protection of geographical indications (GI) relating to goods. The ‘Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks’, who is also the ‘Registrar of Geographical Indication’ of India, is responsible for administering the GI Act. The office works from Chennai. Applications for registration of Geographical Indications can also be filed by foreign entities for registration of their GI in India in accordance with the provisions of TRIPS.

Role of Textiles Committee of India for GI index.

The Textiles Committee of India has been spearheading a nationwide campaign in India by creating awareness among various stakeholders of Textile and Clothing sector on the benefits of GI.

The Committee identifies potential products and facilitates GI registration of the products.

Some GI registrations that the Committee has facilitated include Pochampally Ikkat, Lucknow Chikan Craft, Banaras Saree & Brocades of Uttar Pradesh etc.

The Committee has also supported state governments of Kerala and Uttar Pradesh for registration of some of the products. In this context, three studies were conducted by the Committee.

The first focused on assessing the awareness among stakeholders on GIs and identifying potential products for registration under the act.

The study identified more than 200 potential products for GI registration on the basis of threat perception.

The second documented the specification and uniqueness of various products, which included the production process, historical origin etc.

The third study, is currently being undertaken, analyses the post GI implication for Pochampally Ikat, Sholapur Chaddar and Terry Towels.

Benefits of Registering GI with Logo

 It is easy to display, attach the logo along with the product by producer.

 It gives identity to the product in the perspective of customer.

 It gives less chances of misappropriation of GI as the visibility of the logo is clear. For example, many times, Paithani when asked by customers, they have no option other than rely on the trader.

 Customer can ask, demand and check the packaging material of Paithani for the name and logo.

Conclusion:

The registration of the textile art and craft will retain the identity and sustainability of the product with its origin and geographic area. Further step to protect the product with GI would be to bring awareness among the consumer.

References:

  • K. Acharya, Textbook on Intellectual Property Rights, 6TH Addition, AsiaLaw House, Hyderabad.
  • K & Vuren.K (NOV 2011), Pre AND Post GI Registeration Measures for Handicrafts in India, Journal of IPR, Vol 16, https://www.nopr.niscair.res.in
  • Adarsh Business Review (JUNE 2016), A Study of Profile of Textile Industry for GI in India, https://www.adarshjournals.in
  • V (JAN 2012), IPR AND Handloom Sector, Journal of IPR, Vol 17, https://www.nopr.niscair.res.in
  • Geographical Indication (2015), https://www.wipo.int/geo_indications
  • GI Registry, https://www.ipindia.nic.in/girindia/
  • Nanda, N., (March 2013) Briefing Paper on ‘The Protection of Geographical Indications in India:Issues and Challenges’, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), teriin.org
  • Frequently Asked Questions on Geographical Indication (GIs) by Textile Committee, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  • Textiles committee, Mumbai, procedure for IPR protection through
    (GI), ACT 1999, https://www.textilescommittee.nic.in
  • ipindia.nic.in/writereaddata/…/1_41_1_procedure-for-filing-gi-application.pdf
  • https://ipindia.nic.in/girindia/
  • https://www.mygov.in/task/design-logo-geographical-indications-india/

Authored by – 

Mrs. Vidya R. Thakur and Miss. Taskeen Latiwala

Department of Textiles and Apparel Designing

Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Science (Autonomous)

SNDT Women’s University, Juhu, Mumbai-49.

Email: vidyarthakur@gmail.com