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SpicyIP: The G.I Blurb


We have fresh news trickling in from the two States of Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand for followers of G.I trends.

Since obtaining the first G.I for the Pochamply in 2005, there has been no looking back for the State of A.P in its G.I drive

CII-Andhra Pradesh Technology Development Centre, Hyderabad in Collaboration with Andhra Pradesh Handicrafts Development Corporation have facilitated the grant of Geographical Indications of Nirmal Painitings, Nirmal Furnitures and Leather Puppetry. This is the first hand made paintings, furniture and leather puppets from the state of A.P to be granted a Geographical Indication.

APHDC and the Nirmal Industry along with the Society of the artisans came together to jointly file the G.I application .The financial support was extended by the APHDC which works for the promoting interests of the artisans and handicrafts in the State of AP.

Two things that merit highlighting in this exercise

(a)The collaboration model that underlies the registration makes for an interesting case study, one that could serve as a classic proto for other states to emulate.

(b)In tandem, equal emphasis was accorded to involving the Nirmal artisans and sensitizing them on the importance of securing their collective G.I right.

The collective nature of this genre of IPR makes it additionally imperative that all stakeholders are involved in the process.

We have in our earlier post advocated that PPPs’ could work well in the G.I context. Industry participation towards commercialization and marketing of the craft line could be the vital link in the value chain. We are seeing interesting models of PPP emerge from other developing countries such as Vietnam. The PPP base used to promote the indigenous Phu Quoco Sauce is a classic example where industry, government and the producers have built a sound collaborative model to promote a G.I product.

With many firsts to its credit, it merits mention that Andhra Pradesh was also the first State in responding and resolving successfully the first case of a G.I infringement. The infringement of the Pochampally was countered by the CII effectively and brought to an out of court settlement with Anand & Anand acting as counsel on behalf of the Pochamapally producers.

Very often in my interaction with the artisans, I am asked whether a G.I registration by itself would insulate the artisan community from infringement of their rights. The G.I right confers a collective right on the community as the original producers of the product. Nevertheless any producer who is an authorized user by virtue of him having applied for registration under the G.I act can initiate an action for an infringement of the goods in question. The G.I act stipulates a penalty of Rs.50, 000 with six months imprisonment for the accused if a case of infringement stands proved. While it is common knowledge that infringed items abound the market, the Registry has so far not received too many applications of infringement. In view of this, it is recommended that sensitization programs also educate the producers on the redressal mechanism available to them and urge them to exercise their collective muscle in zealously defending their rights.

Another interesting snippet, that was brought to my notice even as I finish this post-The State of Jharkhand has bagged a G.I for its native Tussar( unfortunately they do it again-the media reports it as a patent much to our chagrin.)

Reports the Hindu
The Jharkhand government has been granted a patent on tussar produced in Kuchai and Kharswan areas of Saraikela-Kharswan district in the state.
With this patent, a pilot project launched on an experimental basis to give tussar produced in Jharkhand an identity by developing it as an organic silk proved successful, Dhirender Kumar, special secretary and director (handicraft, silk and handloom) of Jharkhand said today.
We have streamlined the silk production and now the focus will be on the marketing,” he said adding, the patented variety of tussar would be sold under the brand Jharcraft’.
The department has plans to upgrade the products by providing training to weavers and farmer community. Ten training-cum-designing centres would be opened in the current fiscal in the state.
The G.I movement is on an overdrive and the Registry is inundated with applications from producers who are queing up to secure this prestigious recognition. Inside information indicates that the Tirupati Laddoo and the Palani Panjamirtham are also seeking a registration.
Seems like the Gods are in waiting for a G.I cover as well;)

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