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Geographical Indications Act in India and veracity: a producer perspective

CJ Anson

Keywords: geographical indication; intellectual property rights; GI Act in India; empirical study on GI

Unlike other IPRs, GI protection is intended for a group of persons who are residing in a locality using the name (title). It is the reputation of the product based on its quality that is attained due to geographical factors and prolonged use that makes a GI different from a trade mark. GI protection has not been prominent in India. In December 1999 the Indian Parliament passed the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act). According to this law, any association of persons, producers, organizations, or authorities established by or under the law can apply for the registration of a GI. The applicant must represent the interests of the producers and give the details of the GI, including its special features, quality, reputation or other characteristics and its relation to the geographical area. Up until 2016 there were 248 products registered as GIs in India. It is the consumer perceived value of the GI that makes GI products unique in the market. The benefits of GI registration can be enjoyed by the producers only if the GI is properly marketed. In this empirical study, the researcher has identified the producer based on the activity he is doing in the GI business. The specific condition for treating a respondent to this study as a ‘producer’ is his/her direct involvement in the production. The process of identifying the actual producer is a very important aspect, since the law creates a wide scope in the definition of producer to cover persons other than persons involved in direct production. The basic intention of this article is to examine whether the GI protection benefited the actual producer and whether the producer has actually realized that GI protection is helping them in marketing. The article also attempts to cover the knowledge of the GI producer towards the Indian GI protection system. Most of the existing research has examined only the conceptual ideas around GI protection and their implications. But the present study looks at the subject on an empirical level.

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