Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Dev S. Gangjee
Chapter 16: Social gains from the GI for Feni: will market size or concentration dominate outcomes?
Increasing social welfare is an objective of public policy. However, it is well recognized that interest groups influence public policy in a manner that best suits their group interests. In this paper we study the expected role of Geographical Indications (GI) as a welfare-enhancing policy intervention. When conceived as a protective measure, GI recognition was expected to provide protection to products that have traditional knowledge embodied in them. There are conflicting views on the ability of GIs to increase aggregate welfare. The institutions that are required to garner rents created by GIs may just not exist in developing countries. Further, being a protective measure, it stands in contrast to the overarching logic of a globalized agri-food regime. We explore the possible impacts of the GI on the stakeholders of Feni, an alcoholic drink distilled in Goa, a small state on the western coast of India. The Government of Goa and the Goa Cashew Feni Manufacturers and Bottlers Association, in a joint application, successfully registered a GI for Feni with the Indian GI registry on 27 February 2009. Feni is the first Indian alcoholic beverage (under class 33 of the GI Act) to be registered as a GI in India. This chapter uses both secondary data as well as the findings of a field survey for the analysis.
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