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MADRAS HIGH COURT DISMISSES GI TAG FOR BASMATI RICE PLEA

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

A 2016 case challenging the exclusion of 13 districts in the State from a map submitted by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) seeking Geographical Indication tag for basmati rice grown in the Indo Gangetic Plain was dismissed by Madras High Court.

Details

  • Both the writ petitions were dismissed, on the primary ground of maintainability.
  • The High Court stated that The Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) had already issued GI tag certificates to APEDA by accepting its claim that basmatic rice was grown only in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Uttarakhand apart from 26 districts in Uttar Pradesh besides Jammu as well as Kathua.
  • The present petitions were challenging an order passed by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in Chennai.

GI Tag

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country).
  • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003.
  • GIs have been defined under Article 22 (1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement as: “Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.
  • The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India, in 2004–2005.
  • GI protection systems restrict the use of the GIs for the purpose of identifying a particular type of product, unless the product and/or its constituent materials and/or its fabrication method originate from a particular area and/or meet certain standards.
  • Sometimes these laws also stipulate that the product must meet certain quality tests that are administered by an association that owns the exclusive right to license or allow the use of the indication.

Geographical Indications Registry (GIR)

  • As per the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 , association of persons or producers can apply for GIs for specific products supported by required documents.
  • The Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks (CGPDT), (under the Dept. of Industrial Policy and Promotion of Ministry of Commerce and Industry) is the ‘Registrar of Geographical indications’.
  • The CGPDT directs and supervises the functioning of the Geographical Indications Registry (GIR).

Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB)

  • The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) was constituted on September 15, 2003 by the Indian Government to hear and resolve the appeals against the decisions of the registrar under the Indian Trademarks Act, 1999 and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • Since April 2, 2007, IPAB has been authorized to hear and adjudicate upon the appeals from most of the decisions, orders or directions made by the Patent Controller under the Patents Act.
  • Therefore all pending appeals of Indian High Courts under the Patents Act were transferred to IPAB.
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September 2022
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