GI Protection: The Need for Amelioration

Janani Sridharan
Advocate, Madras High Court, India

Volume II – Issue II, 2020

The long felt need for the protection of GI has  not yet reached its full potential. Due to various reasons, the producer of the good is at a disadvantage after all the efforts and trouble. The “unjust enrichment” of the produce of a community, in the hands of a few individuals has to stop. To enable this, apart from granting GI, the government has to conceive a scheme for promotion, supply and sale of the product, along with granting the GI. The grant of GI would go a long way in giving a supporting hand to the farmers and help in rural development. The recent struggle of the farmers in the Palghar district in Maharashtra for the “wada kolam” rice is one such example. There needs to be a quick decision on such cases, as to not let the poor suffer. Many rice mills are on the verge of shutdown, facing a competition from many deceptive similarities. It is true that a Geographical Indication cannot be given randomly without analysing certain set of factors. But a scheme could be put in place as discussed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation and such process should be headed by a team of experts who are well versed in such fields and with the help of legal members who can visualise the ongoing discrepancies in obtaining such a grant, and thereby helping the community in need.

Keywords: Geographical Indications, Traditional Knowledge, rural development, WIPO, WTO, Wada Kolam.


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