Trans Border IPRs -A GI Based Approach

Published date01 June 2021
AuthorRaju Narayana Swamy
Date01 June 2021
Subject MatterNote
Trans Border IPRs -A
GI Based Approach
Raju Narayana Swamy1
The Background
A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used on goods that have a specific geo-
graphical origin and possess qualities, reputation or characteristics that are essen-
tially attributable to that place of origin.1 To put it a bit differently, GI is a category
of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) with collective ownership. The special
characteristics, quality or reputation may be due to natural factors (raw material,
soil, regional climate, temperature, moisture, etc.) or the method of manufacture
or preparation of the product (such as traditional production methods) or other
human factors (such as concentration of similar business in the same region).
Aranmula Kannadi,2 Kancheepuram Silk Saree, Pochampally Ikat, Darjeeling Tea
and Balaramapuram Handloom are classic examples. Varanasi, it must be men-
tioned here, has emerged as a confluence of products protected by GIs with five
GI registrations assigned to this region alone (Singh, 2015), the most important of
which is Banarasi silk sarees. However, Surat made synthetic sarees and Chinese
made sarees are regularly passed off as Banarasi products in different markets
across India, much to the chagrin of the genuine Banarasi saree producers.
In the ‘natural chaos’ of asymmetrical information, GIs can help restore the
symmetry thereof by offering consumers additional information on the product’s
quality and reputation so that they are not adversely placed against the producers
(Pai & Tania Singla, 2016). In his model on reputation, Shapiro suggested that
reputation operates as a signalling device which transmits information about a
certain quality to the consumers thereby reducing the consumer’s search costs
(Shapiro, 1983). The operation of GIs is quite similar. In fact, surveys conducted
by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) among
EU consumers show that for GI-registered agricultural products, consumers are
willing to pay a premium of up to 10–15% whereas for non-agricultural products,
the premium could range up to 5–10% (Bagade & Metha, 2014).
Indian Journal of Public
67(2) 256–264, 2021
© 2021 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561211030720
1 Principal Secretary, Government of Kerala, Kerala.
Corresponding author:
Raju Narayana Swamy, Kochumadom, RG 324, Ulloor Gramom, Medical College P.O.,

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