Introduction To GI Tag & Steps To Get It In IndiaSeptember 24, 2022 By Amee Parmar
GI or Geographical Indication Tags is a name or sign that certifies a product is of a specific origin & has distinct qualities that make it stand apart. A variety of products from agricultural, natural or manufactured, to industrial and handicraft goods, are protected under the Geographic indication tag.
Its origin traces back to Article 22.1 of the TRIPS Agreement which protects products based on origin & qualities. Being a signatory to the WTO, India enacted the GI of Goods(Registration & Protection) Act 1999 to accord legal protection to the goods that were of a particular region and has qualities unique to them. The act came into force on 15th September 2003. GI or Geographical Indication of goods are defined under section 2(1)(e) of the said act. The good is legally protected for a period of 10 years initially which may be renewed as per relevant law at a later date.
A vital point about the Geographical Indication tag is that it cannot be transferred, mortgaged or licensed to any other third party, even in the case of death of the authorized holder the tag can only be used by their defined nominee. GI tag accordance is a moment of pride for the local artisans and community who have made that product possible, it also facilitates the export of such products and acts as a quality certificate to such goods, all these benefits help it stand out from the competition in the market. Till date over 370 products have been accorded the coveted GI tag.
Violation or infringement of a GI tag is a serious affair, it involves a heavy penalty and jail term. A violation is considered when the same/similar product is launched in the market but is not produced by the authorised GI tag holders of that region. In short counterfeiting, a product or GI logo to make it look authentic is a punishable offence.
The process to get a Geographical Indication Tag in India:
Coming to the big question, how does one get the GI tag in India, it is indeed a long process with appropriate checks and balances in order to filter out unworthy and non-genuine applications. But this shouldn’t deter you if you have a genuine product that is specific to a particular origin and has distinct qualities that separate it from the rest. We break down the process for you in an easy manner to take full advantage of it and get your unique identity tag at the earliest.
Presentation of Application to Geographic Indication Registrar
This can be made by any person or entity or organisation that has, owns or represents the interest of producers of that good.
Fill out details & submit the prescribed fee
Details pertaining to quality, nature, geographical location, process, list of producers and other relevant details are necessary to be filled in the stipulated form along with the prescribed fee for further processing
Once the form with the fee is submitted, a preliminary screening is done to find out the discrepancies if any in the form. A time of one month is given to rectify these preliminary errors by the producer's side.
Judgement by Geographic Indication Registrar
The GI registrar takes the final call on whether to accept or refuse the GI application. In case of refusal, the applicant is given a chance to file for re-scrutiny in a prescribed time frame and manner. The decision after that shall be considered final, however, the option of appeal may be open in certain cases.
Publication in GI journal
Upon acceptance of the application by the GI Registrar, its particulars are published in the GI Journal for record purpose.
Filing of Objection
If anyone has any objection with respect to the details published in the GI journal, they should within a defined time limit submit their objection in writing with relevant documents to the registrar. The GI applicant is then granted time to file a counter and present evidence that support their claim. After hearing both sides and examining the evidence the Registrar takes a final call upon the acceptance of GI tag.
Upon approval from the registrar, the product is finally registered and the certificate of registration is then provided to the original applicant, then can then proudly claim that their product is GI certified and has that unique quality and origin that is unmatched and Unbeatable.
As stated earlier, the original term for GI protection is 10 years, which can be renewed with a proper renewal application & a fee to the GI registrar.
Earlier, If a person or party is dissatisfied with the verdict, they used to approach the Appellate Board ( IPAB), now the IPAB stands abolished with the passing of Tribunals Reforms Ordinance, 2021. In that case, the said appeals lie with the concerned High Courts and Registrar of Geographical Indications.
Some Closing Thoughts:
GI tag is a prestigious issue, it justifies the years of hard work, effort and quality that is gone into producing that perfect product that is separate from all others. The benefits or advantages that the GI tags in India bring are huge and can be used as a boost or push to inspire others to protect their traditional products and get it certified at the earliest.
True, GI registration may appear long and tedious, but it is not the case, with proper guidance, one can get their original product certified in no time. To make the process seamless, it is highly recommended that one takes the service of a corporate law firm, who are experts in this field and can act like guiding angels in this seemingly complex maze of GI. By the way, do you know, which products of your native place have got the coveted GI tag and what is so special about them?
Do let us know, and in case someone close to you is trying to get their product certified, do them a favour by suggesting them to get services of a professional firm like ours, where every client is special to us and we try our very best to deliver excellent services that solve all your legal hassles.