Under the main heads of Intellectual Property Rights, Geographical Indications gains an important stance. GI tag is associated with the reputation and quality of a product. GI tag gives an added opportunity for the producer of goods to capitalize on the essential existing goodwill of the product in the general market. A good example of a GI tag is Parmesan cheese which is produced in parts of Italy. The reputation of Parmesan Cheese comes with its authenticity of using locally available raw materials. Milk being one of the major essentials in cheese, the good bacteria found in the milk in these provinces of Italy contributes to the cheese being unique and enhances its taste. The skill involved and the traditional knowledge of the producers makes parmesan cheese a high standard product which is desired throughout the globe. The availability of good essence bacteria in the region makes it highly improbable to replicate the parmesan cheese in other parts of the world. An important factor that needs to be acknowledged with respect to 'Parmesan Cheese' is the pricing in the market. Parmesan cheese is known to be the costliest cheese available in the world. This is due to the uniqueness of the product.

The reputation of a product gives a monopolistic advantage to manipulate and set the market price. Geographical Indications were introduced with a view to providing protection and prospects for such products and goods which were profoundly unique to a particular region. Geographical Indications was introduced in India, through Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. In 2003, Darjeeling Tea was the first product to obtain a GI tag in India.

Although GI tags have provided prospectus for products, India has a relatively low applications being filed. The current database of Registered GIs in India stands at 512. India is rich in culture and traditions and GI tags play a vital role in representing such culture and heritage. The lack of proper representation and clarity has led to many challenges in filling GI applications. The complex procedure and the inter-states conflicts have caused a major ruckus in GI fillings. The blog puts forth the problems faced and the necessary solutions to overcome the inaccessibility of obtaining a GI tag in India.

GI tag in India

India is rich in culture and traditions; each place has a distinct practice. The varied climatic conditions throughout the country have made certain things habitual for each of these regions. For example, states like Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Assam etc have special significance with respect to rice varieties. These places host varied varieties of rice which have different characteristics. Likewise, each region has a different variety of food. agricultural, hands and artifacts are limited only to such regions. Despite the enriched culture throughout the country, GIs have not yet reached the people. With more critical analysis we can further break down the reasons for GIs not gaining pace in the Indian market.

  1. Lack of Awareness

Many products have a direct influence of climatic conditions and few have artisans' skill to crave/paint an intrinsic art. However, the remoteness has led to people not being able to discover the added advantages to products they are producing and manufacturing. A classic example is a rice variety called 'Kagga Rice' from the coastal region of Karnataka. It is well recognized that this rice type has a few special qualities. The rice plant develops naturally in saltwater estuaries without the need of fertilizers or human intervention. This rice is known to have medical qualities which have been used by the people in that region for the longest time. But until lately, authorities had never taken notice of this product. To receive a GI tag, the government needs to act and catalogue things that may qualify. It should also launch awareness campaigns to help the public learn about the benefits of GI tags.

  1. Lack of Legal Remedy

Section 22 of Geographical Indication Act, 1999 relates to the infringement of registered geographical indications, stating that any unauthorized user who uses such an indication by presenting goods in a way that misleads consumers into believing they are made in a different location than their true origin is violating the law. The Act simply defines what constitutes infringement but does not provide a legal remedy against those involved in the trade of such product. It also states that products cannot be sold under the GI name, which allows other producers to sell the product but not under the GI name. The GI tag comes at a high cost, and when the primary goal is defeated, the creators take a step back. Because of the absence of legal recourse, no GI application was submitted. The famed 'Alphonso mango,' which received a GI tag in 2018, has experienced several issues; despite the GI tag, authorized consumers have been unable to fight the tainted version arriving from the Konkan and other locations. Mangoes from other regions label 'Alphonso' on the box and sell them at higher price, this has affected the original producers and has lost the trust in people. The GI tag was meant to provide legal protection however, due to lack of adequate quality standards, authorized users have been distressed.

  1. Procedural Complexities

The highlighted problem with respect to GI registration arises from complexities involved in the procedural aspects of filing a GI. The requisites of the GI application are such that, it requires the applicants to establish the distinguishable character of the product, the process, the uniqueness of the product. However, an important sub heading "Proof of origin" which forms a major contribution in establishing the historical significance of the product is often the challenging part. A product which has all the prospects of obtaining the GI might not have enough evidence to prove that the product has been in existence for a long period. For several reasons, though the producers have knowledge and know the history, the failure to establish it resulted in refusal of application. Quite often, the traditional knowledge involved in producing is not in writing, it has been passed to generations by word of mouth or practice.

  1. Inter-State Disputes

Geographical Indication has sparked many controversies between the states. The famous Karnataka dessert "Mysore Pak" has been in the news for quite a long time, the fight between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the rightful GI owner. Though enough evidence has been in favour of Karnataka, the GI tag for Mysore Pak is yet to be decided. The states are yet to reach an amicable solution. Another example is "Kokum". The state of Maharashtra has obtained GI for "Kokum". However, "Kokum" is not restricted to Maharashtra alone but also has its roots in Karnataka. Hence, these disputes between the states have resulted in limited GI applications.


  • India's rich cultural heritage has much to offer, but only if procedures are made simple will the items be able to reach a wider audience and open new markets both domestically and internationally. the responsibility of the government to assist with GI filings and explain the benefits. State governments ought to establish a committee to enumerate possible GI goods from their states and run educational campaigns for manufacturers and producers. To support and motivate these manufacturers and producers, the state government need to endeavour to establish subsidy programmes. The government needs to streamline processes and work with other organisations.
  • In 1978, District enterprises Centres were founded all throughout the nation with the goal of advancing and developing cottage and small-scale enterprises. By means of these DICs, the state governments are required to guarantee that manufacturers are encouraged to further use the traditional expertise.
  • The GI tag's purpose is to export and market the goods. But even with GI tags, a lot of items have not been able to establish themselves in the market or get widespread awareness. The government needs to make sure that the prices of the goods are in the premium level. This will support the product's authenticity and motivate the makers of these goods.
  • There is need for revamp in the legislation act of Geographical Indication. A mere validation cannot suffice the objective of GI, the legislation should make strict rules and restrict unauthorized user from distributing and selling the products. A strict penalization policy needs to adopted and ensure the authorized user is fairly compensated with damages incurred. The world famous 'Darjeeling Tea' has encountered fake products been sold in the market with their name. However, the authorized users have not been able to stop these knock-offs. These issues can be countered only by proper enforcement of law for the infringement mentioned in Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002.
  • State-to-state disputes must be handled and resolved by the individual states. The fact that a product is coming from several sources is not significant. This is a result of the border regions' shared cultures. The GI for famous Kolhapuri Chappals was bid by both Karnataka and Maharashtra and due to its large demand and competition, the GI was granted to both states. Hence, the state governments should try and accommodate with a neighbouring state in filing GI.


One technique to demonstrate India's rich cultural heritage is through Geographical Inductions. India, although being a rich source of diversity in its motherland, lags far behind in GI filings compared to many other nations with restricted geographical and product offerings. There is an urgent need to support, ease, and encourage GI filings. To guarantee that promising GI products are found and given all the support needed for filings, the government must take decisive action. revisions to the law to guarantee limitations on product duplication and strong penalties for violators. Therefore, India can overcome its barriers and compete on the international market with the right advertising and help.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.