Geographical Indication is the Intellectual Property Rights such as Patents ,Trademarks , Design. It was implemented worldwide in 1994, as World Trade Organisation Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ( Trips) Agreement. In India, in December 1999 , the parliament summarized the Geographical Indication Act 1999. The Geographical Indication Office for the implementation of this Act is situated at Chennai.
In a Geographical region on the grounds of its features , climatic conditions, culture the production process gets special characteristics , quality like color, taste and aroma ; and which is maintained for the long term then this kind of products are registered in Geographical Indication Register Office situated at Chennai. Because of this, Protection system restricts from production of unauthorized products in other geographical region, adulteration, getting lower price than fair price for 10 years and also the protection period can be renewed .This creates more opportunities for the local producers from the region to get more financial benefits. But this requires strict adherence of the rules in regards with production methods and standards.
Once the product gets registered under Geographical Indication the Organization which has obtained the certificate , Such Organization creates set of rules for the mechanism. To get the protection benefits by the Registered Certificate holders the manufacturers or producers who are eager / interested can fill up the application form and by following evaluation of the work on regular basis can become an authorized certificate user under Geographical Indication. This Certificate can be used for 10 years on the basis of yearly evaluation report .The cost of expenses related to this organization can be taken in form of fee or subscription from all authorized users.
Generally there are misconceptions about Geographical Indication, Patents and Trademarks . Although all three comes under Intellectual Property law . There is difference in the basic nature of the law and its provisions from the original core . The Use of Geographical Indication depends mainly upon the innovative and ancient techniques in the production process , use of best farming methods and how it is affiliated to the local traditional methods of the geographic origin. On the basis of the Knowledge of GI it is collective entitlement of the registered certificate holder organization and authorized users. As a result the group of producers / manufactures and also the society gets financially benefitted.
Patents and Trademarks are used commercially as a private right. Once any product gets patent or trademark then its authority is given to an individual or the company. The right of patent holder i.e. an individual or company is owned by an Individual or that Company therefore to use the right of any patent or trademark the patent holder has to take permission of the owner. The patent holder financial benefit by this system.
The Organization who has obtained certificate through Geographical Indication and authorized users (License Holder issued by the Organization ) can prevent the illegal use of Geographical Indications through court. The authorized users of Geographical Indications certificate have exclusive right to use G.I Tag in accordance with the criteria mentioned in obtaining the geographical indication. If any unauthorized user produces same type of product in the same geographic origin to mislead / deceive the consumers then it is treated as violation of law. Also GI cannot be used to suppress commercial competitors.
At present in the market competition there has been an increase in fake products . The fake products are made just like traditional products to mislead the originality of that product . The complexity of supply chain, original producers and unknown consumers ,on the basis of the difference between the geographic and cultural methods to find out the difference between original and fake products has become very difficult and complicated. That’s why the requirement of modern methods and innovative technology has increased to build true and reliable products in the producers. In many cases identification of the ingredients of that products is not easily identified the need for technology has increased.
Raw materials used for making certain products are inferior or fake, or are not subject to all conditions of production criteria (although legally required). To stop this loopholes in business, the Consumer Protection Act with GI Enrollment Act can be used by the Food Safety And Certification Act 2006 to Safeguard and protect the interests of real certified producers and consumers.
Geographical Indication is the specification of that particular product. For that, the name of that region does not need to be mentioned in the directive for example- Basmati, Haapus, Alphonso