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GI FAQ India





1. What is Geographical Indication (GI)?

GI in relation to goods, means an indication which identifies such goods as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods as originating, or manufactured in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and in case where such goods are manufactured goods one of the activities of either the production or of processing or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region or locality, as the case may be.

Darjeeling Tea, Lucknow Chikan Craft, Kinnauri Shawl, Blue Pottery of Jaipur are some of the registered GIs in India.

2. What is the benefit of getting a GI registration?

  • GI confers legal protection to goods in domestic as well as international market.  

  • It prevents the unauthorized use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others

  • As legal protection is provided to Indian Geographical Indications, the export is promoted.

  • It returns financial benefits to the producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.

  • A registered proprietor can also seek legal protection in other WTO member countries.

3. When is a GI not registrable?

A geographical indication:

  • The use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion;

  • The use of which would be contrary to any law for the time being in force;

  • Which comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter;

  • Which comprises or contains any matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class or sections of the citizens of India

  • Which would otherwise be disentitled to protection in court

  • Which are determined to be generic names or indication of goods and are, therefore, not or ceased to be protected in their country of origin, or which have fallen into disuse in that country

  • Which, although literally true as to the territory, region or locality in which the goods originate, but falsely represent to the persons that the goods originate in another territory, region or locality, as the case may be;

Shall not be registered a geographical indication.

4. What is a generic GI?

If a geographical term is used as the designation of a kind of product rather than an indication of the place of origin of that product, the term no longer function as a GI.  

5. Who can apply for the registration of a GI?

Any association of persons or of producers or any organization or authority established by or under any law for the time being in force representing the interest of the producers of the concerned goods, who are desirous of registering geographical indication in relation to such goods shall apply in writing to the Registrar in such' form and in such manner and accompanied by such fees as may be prescribed for the registration of the geographical indication.

6. Who is a “Registered Proprietor” of a geographical indication? What are his rights?

Any association of persons or of producers or any organization or authority established by or under the law can be a registered proprietor.

The registered proprietor can exercise the exclusive rights to use the GI and prevent others from using the GI without his permission.

He can also initiate infringement action against the infringers.

7. Who is an “Authorized User”?

Any person claiming to be a producer of the goods in respect of which a geographical indication has been registered may apply for registration as an authorized user.


8.    Who is a producer in relation to a Geographical Indication?

Producer in relation to goods, means any person who,--

  • If such goods are agricultural goods, produces the goods and includes the person who processes or packages such goods;

  • If such goods are natural goods, exploits the goods;

  • If such goods are handicraft or industrial goods, makes or manufactures the goods,

  • It also includes any person who trades or deals in such production, exploitation, making or manufacturing, as the case may be, of the goods.

9. What is the term of GI protection?

GI is registered for a period on ten years but can be renewed from time to time for a further period of 10 years by paying the renewal fees.

If a registered geographical indication is not renewed it is liable to be removed from the register.

10. Is registration of a Geographical Indication compulsory?

The registration of GI, though not compulsory, offers better legal protection to facilitate an action for infringement.  Also the authorized user can exercise his exclusive right to use the GI and can initiate can initiate infringement actions against the infringer.

11.  What amounts to infringement of a registered GI?

The following action amounts to GI infringement

  • When an unauthorized user uses a geographical indication that indicates or suggests that such goods originate in a geographical area other than the true place of origin of such goods in a manner which mislead the public as to the geographical origin of such goods;

  • When the use of geographical indication result in an unfair competition including passing off in respect of registered geographical indication;

  • When the use of another geographical indication results in false representation to the public that goods originate in a territory in respect of which a registered geographical indication relates.

12.  What are the penalties for GI infringement?

The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, provides for a sentence of imprisonment for a term between six months to three years and a fine between fifty thousand  and two lakhs rupees in case of GI infringement. 

13. Can registered GI be assigned or transmitted?

Since a geographical indication is a public property belonging to the producers of the concerned goods, it shall not be the subject matter of assignment, transmission, licensing, pledge, mortgage or such other agreement.

However, when an authorized user dies, his right devolves on his successor in title.

14. How does a GI differ from trademark?

A trademark is a sign that an individual trader or company uses to distinguish its own goods or services from the goods or services of competitors.

A geographical indication on the other hand is used to show that certain products have a certain regional origin.

15. What are the international protection systems for GI?

The Paris Convention provides protection of geographical indications against any unauthorized use that is misleading.

The Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration administered by World Intellectual Property Organization provides an international registration system for appellations of origin. A country that operates a national system for the protection of appellations of origin can apply for international registration of a given appellation of origin, which is then communicated to the other States party to the Agreement.

The TRIPS Agreement also requires all Members of the World Trade Organization to protect geographical indications, if their unauthorized use would be misleading or would constitute an act of unfair competition.

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