The new rules pertaining to the Geographical Indications of Goods were released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) on 26th August 2020 via Notification. The new amendment has simplified the Geographical Indications Rules (hereinafter referred as ‘GI Rules') and now more focus is on authorized user registrations for Geographical Indications. Some of the fees related to application and renewal has also been cut short.
What are Geographical Indications?
Geographical Indications also known as GI, is a sign which are used on a specific product that have its own geographical origin and consists all the qualities or reputation that are present in that origin. It basically covers the origination of a particular product. 1
In India, Geographical Indications are covered by Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999; India enacted this law in 1999, which came into force from year 2003. It is mainly an attempt to adhere with the obligations mentioned under TRIPs agreement. Kashmiri Saffron from Jammu & Kashmir, Manipuri Black rice from Manipur is some recent GI tags which got registered in 2019-2020.
Spot Light of the Amendment
- Rule 56 (1) (2) Amendment: Authorized User
An authorized user can only apply for a Geographical Indications (GI) if he proves himself to be the producer of that GI. Such person will be solely permitted to apply for registration. As against to a combined application of applicant and producer were to be made.
- Rule 59 (1) (3) Amendment: Registration of an authorised user entry in the Register
By the latest amendment Rule 59 (1) once the registration application for the Authorized user is accepted after the period of opposition and dismissal in favour of the Applicant. An application under Form GI-3 is required to be filed for entry in the register.
Prior to the amendment, an issuance of registration certificate was required which has been done away with along with a submission of unmounted representation of GI under Rule 59(3).
- First Schedule: Entry 3A
The fee amount of Form GI-3 has been reduced for an application for the registration of an authorized user under section 17 rule 56(1) from INR 500 to INR 10.
- First Schedule: Entry 3C
The renewal of registration of authorized user fee of Form GI-3 has also been reduced to INR 10 from INR 1000. The previous entry 3B has now been removed from the first schedule.
Outcome of the GI amendment
An increase can be seen in the authorized user and the particular reason for that is the new amendment of Rule 56 which allows the application for registration of the authorized users only. The registration process time will also be reduced. As opposed to a No Objection certificate needed to be received for the authorized user certificate. With the reduction in the fees increase in the registration of authorized user can be expected.
This amendment will also give strength to the entire network of Intellectual property as it has eased the whole procedure for registration of an authorized user of the registered Geographical Indication.2
Geographical Indications are one of the traditional parts of the Intellectual Property Rights. The new amendment has strengthened the GI Rule. The changes brought by the amendment are minor yet impactful. A positive outcome can be expected as increase in the authorized user registration. Due to the lowering fees of the GI registration and renewal and simplified registration process has become enticing to the potential applicants otherwise would have seemed pricey and procedurally complexed.
1 See what are Geographical Indications, “World Intellectual Property Organization” Available at https://www.wipo.int/geo_indications/en/, last browsed 02/16/2021.
2 See Notification GI (Amendment) Rules, 2020, “Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade” Available at https://ipindia.gov.in/writereaddata/Portal/News/708_1_Notification-GI_amenmdent_rules.pdf, last browsed 2/16/2021.
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