Abstract: The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GIGA) embodies the availability of both civil and criminal remedies in the scenario of infringements. However, multiple difficulties hinder the effective enforcement of the legislation; for instance, Section 50(4) of the GIGA stipulates that the complaints have to be filed before an officer in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) or equivalent. This is a practical concern as it is relatively difficult for local farmers and artisans to have easy access to an officer of such a high rank. Besides that, Section 66 of the Act, which provides that suits for infringement have to be filed in a court not inferior to that of a District Court, is also troubling, as most of the GIs in India are located in rural areas, which in most cases are away from the district headquarters. Travelling this far for conducting the litigation and hiring a lawyer of the District Court for that purpose is an additional financial burden for most of the producers.

Even after two decades of the enactment of the GIGA, there is still an evident lack of awareness about the law among the public. A comprehensive GI policy covering aspects such as mapping potential products, speedy registration process, post-registration monitoring, and brand building is yet to be developed. In light of these issues relating to enforcement, this research paper examines some of the positive measures adopted in foreign jurisdictions that may be imbibed in India for better GI protection. The nature of GI protection in jurisdictions such as the European Union, France, the United States, and China is comparatively analyzed with the Indian situation to suggest possible takeaways for India.

Authors: Ananthu S Hari is a Doctoral Research Scholar at the Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. The author may be reached at ananthushari@gmail.com.

Prof. (Dr.) K.D Raju is a Professor of Law at Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. The author may be reached at kdraju@rgsoipl.iitkgp.ac.in.

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