Author: Intern - Mrinal Datiwal
The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce furnished the “161st Report: Review of the Intellectual Property Rights Regime in India” on July 23, 2021. The Report reviewed the ongoing intellectual property rights (“IPR”) regime and put forth measures to improve the laws. Report features a section on geographical indications which dealt with gradual decrease in geographical indication (“GI”) registrations and recommended strategies to improve the number of GI registrations as well as the need to increase awareness regarding benefits of GI labelling of products.
The Report mentions that the number of GI registrations has been on downtrend from the year 2016-17. The reasons identified for the pendency or decline in registrations is due to the applicant’s inability to comply with legal requirements. It mentions that the office of GI Registry (quasi-judiciary authority) has taken steps to expedite the process of GI registrations which reduced the registration timeframe from 12 months to 8 or 9 months. It highlights that the procedure for registering “Authorised user” (producers of goods) should be accelerated. The Report highlights that the GI registry should periodically issue advisories including information on compliance necessities which will help GI applicants while submitting application for registration.
The Report in its recommendations mentions that the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (“DPIIT”) and the GI Registry work in harmony in order to spread awareness about the benefits of GI tagging of products, which could be done by establishing kiosk and training centres, especially in remote areas. It was also suggested that formulation of marketing and advertising strategies specifically for GI tagged products may prove helpful in strengthening growth potential in financial terms.
The Report highlights the need for a centralised agency to investigate and analyse the quality assurance methods for each GI which would help in tackling infringements, unfair competition and fabrication of goods under GI tag. The agency will have the power and authority to make sure that the products being tagged under specific region are up to the standards which are mentioned in Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act. This action will aid in prevention of economic losses incurred by authentic GI holders and will also secure the reputation of tagged products in global market sphere.
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