Geographical Indications in India: A Business Guide to GI Registration and Benefits

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26 Dec 2023

In the diverse tapestry of Indian culture, Geographical Indications (GIs) serve as unique identifiers, linking products to their specific geographical origins. For businesses, understanding and utilizing GIs is not just about legal compliance but also a strategic tool for branding and market differentiation.

What is a Geographical Indication?

A Geographical Indication is a sign used on products with a specific geographical origin, possessing qualities or a reputation due to that origin. Governed under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 in India, examples include Darjeeling Tea, Kanchipuram Silk, and Malabar Pepper.

The Process of GI Registration

The GI registration process ensures that products linked to a specific region are legally protected against imitation and misuse. By registering a GI, businesses can legally affirm the authenticity of their products, enhancing brand credibility and consumer trust.

The process involves filing an application with the Geographical Indications Registry, providing detailed evidence of the product’s geographical origin and its inherent qualities or reputation attributable to that location.

Once registered, a GI serves as a powerful marketing tool, enabling businesses to distinguish their products in a competitive market and potentially command premium pricing.

Moreover, GI registration plays a crucial role in preserving cultural heritage and supporting local communities by promoting indigenous products on national and global platforms.

For businesses, understanding and navigating the intricacies of GI registration is not just a matter of legal compliance but a strategic investment in brand building and sustainable growth.

Key Sections of the GI Act:

Section Number Title/Description Key Points
Section 2 Definitions Defines terms used in the Act, such as “geographical indication,” “goods,” “producer,” etc.
Section 3 Appointment of Registrar Details the appointment and powers of the Registrar of Geographical Indications.
Section 6 Application for Registration Outlines the process for applying for GI registration.
Section 8 Registration of Geographical Indications Discusses the criteria and procedures for registering a GI.
Section 9 Prohibition of Registration of Certain Geographical Indications Specifies the types of GIs that cannot be registered.
Section 11 Opposition to Registration Provides the process for opposing the registration of a GI.
Section 14 Duration, Renewal, and Effect of Registration Details the validity period of a GI registration and the renewal process.
Section 21 Infringement of Registered Geographical Indications Defines what constitutes infringement of a registered GI and the penalties involved.
Section 22 Penalty for Falsely Representing a Geographical Indication Outlines penalties for falsely representing a geographical indication.
Section 23 Appeal Explains the appeal process against the decisions of the Registrar.
Section 24 Correction and Amendment Provides for the correction and amendment of the GI register.
Section 27 Border Security Measures Discusses measures to prevent the import of goods infringing registered GIs.

Why are GIs Important for Businesses?

  1. Branding and Authenticity: GIs act as hallmarks of authenticity, enabling consumer trust in the origin and quality of the product.
  2. Market Differentiation: GIs provide a competitive edge, highlighting unique product characteristics linked to geographic origin.
  3. Legal Protection: Registering a GI protects it from misuse and imitation, ensuring that only genuine products from the region can use the name.

Challenges in Leveraging GIs:

  • Awareness: Low awareness about GIs among Indian businesses.
  • Enforcement: Ensuring compliance and protection against infringement is challenging.
  • Value Addition: Struggles to capitalize on the value addition potential of GIs.

Case Studies: Successful GI Implementations

  1. Darjeeling Tea: Helped in branding and commanding premium pricing internationally.
  2. Channapatna Toys: Gained global recognition, aiding local artisans and businesses.


Geographical Indications are branding powerhouses that narrate a story of tradition, quality, and authenticity. For Indian businesses, especially in sectors like agriculture, handicrafts, and textiles, leveraging GIs can lead to enhanced brand value and market presence. As India continues to make its mark globally, GIs will play a pivotal role in showcasing the country’s rich heritage and diversity.

Call to Action:

Businesses should actively seek to understand, register, and leverage GIs to protect their products, enhance brand value, and explore new markets.

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