The Paris Convention talks about ‘indications of source’ and ‘appellations of origin’ which are the closest and simplest definitions available to what geographical indications (GI) seek to protect. Although the explanations may make it sound similar to trademarks, the difference is actually quite vast. GIs are not used by individual traders or companies to demarcate their goods as different from the ones of others, but to show that a certain product has to have a very specific geographical origin – a country, region, and/or a specific place – for it to be recognized as authentic. Thus, any and every producer in that region would be entitled to use that GI. For instance, Bordeaux and Champagne can be used by all winegrowers in the Bordeaux or Champagne area, but only Moët & Chandon can call its champagne “Moët & Chandon®” as a trademark for its champagne.


In accordance with the TRIPS Agreement and the sui generis system, India has a separate law dealing exclusively with the protection of GIs. So far, we have one main legislation – The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act) and one set of Rules – The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002 (GI Rules). We have an established GI Registry in Chennai, which has an all-India jurisdiction.

In the Indian GI Act, even if a certain good does not exactly carry the name of its geographical origin per se, but is still essentially a product solely associated with such an area, it shall be considered as GI. This is the umbrella under which goods like ‘Basmati’ have gained their GI tags.

The one aspect of TRIPS with respect to GI that India has modified is the expansion of the scope of GI protection beyond wines and spirits. As independent as the Indian GI Board may be, other countries are not bound to extend the scope similarly hence the international arena becomes clouded with confusion when it comes to GI protection of an Indian product that isn’t wine or spirit. 


Around 65 GI’s of Indian origin have already been registered with the GI Registry. These include GI like Darjeeling (tea), Pochampalli, Ikat (textiles), Chanderi (sarees), Kancheepuram silk (textiles), Kashmir Pashmina (shawls), Kondapalli (toys), and Mysore (agarbattis).

Other significant GI’s registered during 2007-08 include ‘Muga Silk’ from Assam, ‘Madhubani paintings’ from Bihar, ‘Malabar pepper’ and ‘Alleppey Green Cardamom’ from Kerala, ‘Cora Cotton’ from Tamil Nadu, ‘Allahabad Surkha’ from Uttar Pradesh, ‘Nakshi Kantha’ from West Bengal, ‘Monsooned Malabar Coffees’ from Karnataka and Kerala. 




The Government of India (GOI) has recently notified rules to amend Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002. The said rules will be called Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) (Amendment) Rules, 2020. The following amendments have been being introduced:

a) Certain provisions of Rule 56 with respect to the Authorized User have been substituted as under:

  • As per the amended Rule 56 (1), the application for registration of Authorized User(s) can be made in Form GI-3. Such request is required to be accompanied by a Statement of Case mentioning applicants claim as producer of the registered GI under consideration.
  • According to the Rule 56 (2), the applicant has to provide copy of such request to the registered producer of GI and thereafter intimate the same to the Registrar.

b) Further, Rule 59 (1) has been substituted to include the following:

  • As per the amended Rule 59 (1), upon acceptance of the application for registration of Authorized User, after completion of opposition stages (if any) in favor of the applicant, the Registrar would enter the details of the Authorized User in Part B of the register and issue necessary registration certificate to the applicant.

c) Further, Rule 59 (2) sub-clause (f) and (g) which mandated the requirement of priority date and details of appropriate office, related to the GI for which the application is made, have been omitted.

d) Rule 59(3) has been amended, wherein the requirement of submission of “unmounted representation of the GI” along with a request for issuance of registration certificate as an authorized user has been obviated.

e) The First Schedule, entry 3A with respect to a fee of Form GI-3 for an application for the registration of an Authorized User of a registered GI under Section 17, Rule 56(1), has been reduced to INR 10.

f) Also, entry 3C of the First Schedule, with respect to a fee of Form GI-3 for renewal of Authorized User has been reduced to INR 10 and will be considered as entry 3B. However, previous entry 3B, has been removed from the said schedule.

g) The Second Schedule has been amended to confirm the amended Frist Schedule.

h) Also, amended Form GI 3A and Form GI 3B have been notified.



  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
  • Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration
  • TRIPS Agreement
  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property