What is a Geographical Indication?
A geographical indication is one of the types of Intellectual Property. A geographical indication specifies a name, sign or mark used on a product that is associated with specific geographical location. A Geographical indication tag is used to specify a geographical territory. In addition, the geographical indication is used for agricultural goods, natural goods, and manufactured goods etc. Some of the famous examples are Silk Sarees of Kanchipuram, Alphanso Mangoes, Oranges of Nagpur, Kolhapuri Chappal, Bikaneri Bhujia, and Agra Petha etc.
A person can use the geographical indication on his product if that product conforms to applicable standards of the good where that geographical indication belongs. It is basically analogous to an authentication process that provides a certificate to a product if the consumers are able to identify that a particular product belongs to the specific geographical location. It provides an exclusive right to a person to deter others from using that particular geographical indication for his or her product when it is not meeting the applicable standard.
Therefore, we can say that Geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country). The use of GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities and standard, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin. There are a few definitions associated with Geographical indication.
A Geographical indication (GI) is a sign that identifies a product as originating from a particular location which gives that product a special quality or reputation or other characteristics.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines that “A geographical indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, a reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin”. Most commonly, a geographical indication includes the name of the place of origin of the goods. For example, agricultural products typically have qualities that derive from their place of production and are influenced by specific local factors such as climate and soil.
Another definition for Geographical indication is “Geographical indications are place names (can also be words associated with a place, in some countries) used to identify products that come from these places and have these characteristics (for example, “Champagne”, “Tequila” or “Roquefort”).”
The protection offered by Geographical indication is very important. Geographical indications are more than just a name or a symbol. Geographical indications are used to associate reputation of a certain product with a geographical area. The reputation of a Geographical indication is a collective and intangible asset. A Geographical indication can be used without any restriction from others if it is not protected. Hence, the value of Geographical indication eventually diminishes along with its hard-earned reputation as well.
The Geographical indication should not be confused with a trademark. A trademark protection allows the use of that trademark only to the legal owner. On the contrary, multiple users can use a particular Geographical indication on their product provided that the products meets the applicable standards of that Geographical indication.