More on the nationalization of GIs – Sarkar Raj – Power cannot be given – It has to be taken

Continuing from my earlier post on the ‘nationalization’ of G.I. which covered the G.I. applications from 100-200, I’ve now compiled some statistics for the first 100 G.I. applications to have been filed in India. Not surprisingly, 64% of these 100 applications have been filed and subsequently registered in the names of government agencies ranging from the Government of India to the State Government of Tamil Nadu. The entire list can be accessed over here
A total of 17 G.I.s for handicrafts have been registered by Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. Amongst the various G.I. granted to this agency are the ‘Coconut Shell Crafts of Kerala’, ‘Temple Jewellery of Nagercoli’, ‘Kathputlis of Rajasthan’, ‘Leather Toys of Indore’ and ‘Bagh Prints of Madhya Pradesh’. The Development Commissioner sitting in Delhi has therefore registered G.I.s for handicrafts across the length and breadth of the country. The only way the Development Commissioner could have filed these applications is if he claimed to have been representing the interests of the producers of these handicrafts. I have no clue whether the Development Commissioner for Handicrafts was actually authorized under the law to represent the interests of the artisans who make these handicrafts. Image right: Madhubani Paintings – Image from here.
Other famous G.Is which have been registered by government agencies include the following: 
1. Madhubani Paintings: Director of Industries, Department of Industries (Govt. of Bihar); 
2. Kancheepuram Silk: Department of Handlooms & Textiles (Govt. of T.N.) Image right: Kanchipuram Silk Saree (from here
3. Kullu Shawl: H.P. Patent Information Centre, State Council of Science, Technology & Environment 
4. Darjeeling Tea: Tea Board, Ministry of Industries & Commerce 
5. Channapatna Toys & Dolls: Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited 
6. Mysore Sandal Soap: Karnataka Soaps & Detergents Limited, (A Government of Karnataka Enterprise) 
7. Coorg Oranges: Department of Horticulture, Govt. of Karnataka, Biotechnology Centre 
8. Muga Silk: Assam Science Technology and Environment Council
9. Bastar Wooden Craft: Chhattisgarh Hastshilp Vikas Board 
10.  Mysore Silk: Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation Ltd. 
Another interesting trend that caught my eye was the G.I. Application (No. 91) for ‘Nirmal Toys & Crafts’. This application was filed and subsequently registered in the name of Nirmal Toys & Arts Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd, Nirmal, Adilabad District. Two of the subsequent applications for ‘Nirmal Furniture’ & ‘Nirmal Paintings’ were filed by Andhra Pradesh Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd. We therefore have an example where a private group of artisans and the government seem to be competing for similar G.Is. 
Apart from the general trend of nationalization of G.Is, I also noticed some rather odd G.I. registrations. For example Application No. 18 for ‘Mysore Agarbathi’ was filed and registered in the name of the All India Agarbathi Manufacturers Association. Why should an ‘All-India’ association be granted the registration for a product which is manufactured only in Mysore? 
The larger questions which I hope to be discussing in the future are the quality of examinations by the G.I. Registry especially since the rate of grant of G.I.s seem to be as high as 90%. 
Prashant Reddy

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).


  1. AvatarD.Bheemeswar

    Nothing is wrong in this list, they all deserve to be given GI patenting status, as they are all traditionally made since ages, a lot are still missing. It is the governmental agencies which have to protect the tribal and villagers rights specially cottage industries and khadhi bandar sectors which are dealing with these arts. When International commuters do come we get good bargain for them and in turn those who make them shall also get benefited.

  2. AvatarD.Bheemeswar

    A good question asked and it has a long standing history and also deserves GI status. Thanks for the list of the GI Status. If we do not protect our traditional knowledge who else shall. At least now governmental agencies have woken up.

  3. AvatarAnonymous

    Hi.Justice Manmohan Singh has interpreted Indian Trademark Law follows National exhausation and not international exhausation. See Judgment dated 17 Feb in he Samsung matter.

  4. AvatarAnonymous

    I also think that Mr. Bhemeshwar has missed the entire point and the purpose of the blog. True we must protect our traditional knowledge otherwise who shall? But the question is it to be the Government Agencies? Is it in tune with the GI Act?
    He has stated that a lot are still missing. Yes there would be scores which must be missing and m ust be protected, but by the right persons

  5. AvatarPrashant Reddy

    Hi Anon – Thank you for the tip-off. Could you email me a copy (preddy85[@] of the judgment? The Delhi HC is yet to put it up on the website and it looks like it will take a few days.

    Thank you,

  6. AvatarS

    A good one!!
    A couple of things I see of concern are:
    As defined in the act, u/s 11, “Any association of persons or producers or any organization or authority established by or under any law for the time being in force representing the interest of the producers of the concerned goods, who are desirous of registering a geographical indication in relation to such goods shall apply…” Now here, definition of authority is important as it is not defined in the act.

    Besides, while examining the merits of the goods which are to be registered for GI, the ability and genuineness of the applicant should also be scrutinized.

    Thirdly, the objective of GI is to identify the geographical relatedness of manufactured goods, agricultural produce, handicrafts from a certain location which shows the quality, reputation and characteristics attributable to that place. And importantly which is to enlighten the consumer to distinguish between the illegitimate producers. I fail to see this objective in few of the registered GIs.
    I really wonder how Haleem, puneri pagdi, tirupati laddu qualified to become GIs?
    However, I do not have any doubt about their uniqueness.
    Last but not the least; the registry should be careful and studious while approving the GI of goods.


  7. AvatarAnonymous

    The details of teh case are
    I.A. 7774/2011 In CS(OS) 1155/2011 SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS COMPANY
    The judgement has not yet been uploaded on the website of Delhi High Court.


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