Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer 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. Typically, such a name conveys particular goods have originated from or are manufactured in a particular territory. Classic example of international Geographical Indication is Champagne. The goods can be in any form natural, manufactured or agricultural. The special characteristics of the goods relate them to the geographical territory so they are termed as Geographical Indications. Few examples of Geographical Indications in India are Darjeeling Tea, Mysore silk, Paithani Sarees, Kota masuria, Kolhapuri Chappals, Bikaneri Bhujia and Agra Petha.
Each of the aforesaid commodities slated to get the status of Geographical Indication possess distinct peculiar features, which are related to their respective territories. For example, Nilgiris tea has several qualities of flavor, prompting the Tea Board to file papers for registration. The registration has been sought for the orthodox variety of tea grown in the hilly Nilgiris district, with its elevation that gives it a unique flavor.
Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs. They are also covered under Articles 22 to 24 of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, which was part of the Agreements concluding the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.
India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15th September 2003.
Significance of Geographical indication Registration:
Such identification enables the product to gain reputation and goodwill all over the world consequently resulting into premium prices in national and international market.
Recognition of a particular commodity as geographical indication also confers the right to protection under the Geographical Indication Act 1999, thereby preventing the unauthorized use of the commodity registered as GI by any third party.
Geographical indication registration encourages community ownership and therefore it helps in proper distribution of the economic benefits accrued from commercialization of the commodity across a wider section of people in that territory.