Geographical Indications

As consumers start to pay more attention to the geographical origin of a product, more When products have a certain geographic origin or possess qualities and reputation that are exclusive to that origin then we use a sign, known as Geographical Indications (GI). For a product to be classified as GI it must originate in a given place and the qualities, features and reputation must show a direct link between the product and the place of origin.

What rights does GI provide?

A GI allows those who have the right to use the indication and prevents other third parties from using products that do not meet the required standards. For example, Darjeeling tea is a famous GI of Darjeeling and producers of Darjeeling tea can exclude other producers from using the term ‘Darjeeling’ if the tea is not grown in their tea gardens or does not meet the requisite criteria.

However, this does not allow the GI holder to stop someone from making a product using a similar technique. A GI is protected when a right is acquired over the sign that constitutes the indication.

What products can be protected by GI?

1.Agricultural products


3.Wine and spirits


5.Industrial Products

How are GIs protected?

Geographical Indications can be protected in the following ways:

1.Sui generis systems, i.e. special regimes of systems.

2.Using collective or certification marks

3.Methods that focus on business practices, i.e. administrative product approval schemes.

4.Unfair competition laws

The scope of protection differs among these approaches and varies from country to country. Usually, a combination of two or more approaches are adopted and are developed in accordance with the historical and the prevailing economic conditions of a country.

How long does GI protection last?

n a sui generis legislation, GI registrations are not limited to a specific period of validity. In simple words, a registered GI remains valid until the registration is cancelled. Whereas GIs that are registered as collective and certification marks are usually protected for renewable periods of 10 years.

How are Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Geographical Indications (GI) related?

Products that are registered as GI are often the result of traditional processes and knowledge that a community in a particular geographical region passes forward from generation to generation. As a result, these products embody the traditional artistic heritage of a specific region, known as “traditional cultural expressions” (TCEs). This is more commonly seen in handicraft goods that are made using the natural resources of a particular region.

Although GIs do not directly protect the TKs or TCEs as they are already part of the public domain but it is possible to protect them by describing the production standards of a product and preserving them for future generations.