Abstract: The recent registration awarded by the Registrar to the State of West Bengal for the Banglar Rasgulla was considered a reason to rejoice for the State. However, the decision has not only brought to light the battle over the origin of the sweet between Odisha and West Bengal, but has also opened a Pandora’s box of anticompetitive behaviour, market structures modelled on fake goods and low supply.
This paper looks into how the grant of registration of geographical indication to a recipe such as the one for Banglar Rasgulla is flawed owing to the non-fulfilment of the tests enshrined in the provisions of the sui generis statute, coupled with judicial interpretations. Furthermore, the paper elucidates the possible demerits of awarding such registrations to recipes and the negative consequences unleashed by such a decision.
Lastly, the paper presents and discusses possible solutions to this problem by analysing the entities gaining and losing from this decision, the rationale for having a geographical indication, the conditions for awarding such a registration and finally, by examining the rights secured by such a registration, thereby keeping the interests of the market in line with the Utilitarian justification of intellectual property rights. The biggest advantage of adopting the solution discussed in the paper, is the true realization of the maximization of benefits, essentially intended to be achieved by the Legislature, which is otherwise defeated under the current registration scheme of geographical indications.
Author: Ruchika Chouhan is a 5th year undergraduate law student of the Christ (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru. The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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