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 characteristic.
Under the Geographical Indications Act, it is not necessary to file an application to protect the GI.
A GI is distinct from a trade mark. A GI informs consumers that a product comes from a certain place and has special qualities due to that place of origin, while a trade mark is used to distinguish a business’ goods or services from those of its competitors. A GI may be used by all producers or traders whose products originate from that place and which share typical characteristics, while a trade mark gives its owners the right to prevent others from using the trade mark.
A geographical indication right enables those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards. For example, in the jurisdictions in which the Darjeeling geographical indication is protected, producers of Darjeeling tea can exclude use of the term “Darjeeling” for tea not grown in their tea gardens or not produced according to the standards set out in the code of practice for the geographical indication.
However, a protected geographical indication does not enable the holder to prevent someone from making a product using the same techniques as those set out in the standards for that indication. Protection for a geographical indication is usually obtained by acquiring a right over the sign that constitutes the indication.
Geographical indications are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts, and industrial products.
The famous goods which carry this tag include Basmati rice, Darjeeling Tea, Chanderi Fabric, Mysore Silk, Kullu Shawl, Kangra Tea, Thanjavur Paintings, Allahabad Surkha, Farrukhabad Prints, Lucknow Zardozi and Kashmir Walnut Wood Carving.