Geographical Indication, in plain terms can be defined as a tool to protect
certain commodities from exploitation and to maintain it's local, cultural,
ethnical, procedural identity. It is one of the types of Intellectual Property
Rights, which has its importance in the region of trade, because the things in
which a GI Tag is granted are usually commodities which prove profitable when
sold. It guarantees cultural authenticity and therefore proves helpful for both
consumers and producers.
According to World Intellectual Property Organization - GI is "A GI is a sign
used on products which have a specific geographical origin and possesses
qualities or reputation which are specific to that origin. In order to specify
as a GI a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place."
A geographical indication protects a person from infringing the rights of
commodity and its usage. The GI system or something similar to it was first
developed by the French and it was known as the "Appellation of Origin".
India after becoming a part of the World Intellectual Property Organization
enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act
1999. These tags are granted to the commodities which are generally agriculture,
natural or manufactured like handicrafts. It identifies a particular commodity
by its region or its process.
The Kadaknath chicken is one of the most famous varieties of chicken which is
granted a GI tag. It comes from the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh and is
pure black in color, even the internal organs are black which attracts the
people towards it. It is very rich and good in taste and the perfect variety has
been developed by generations of cross breeding done by the tribal people.
"Comparative value of the Kadaknath breed both in terms of economics as well as
nutritive values makes this breed more important among the poultry. It has
changed lives of farmers in tribal region in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Kadaknath has now outreached to 117 districts in 20 states across India and also
exported to Asian countries."
GI Tag and its Pre-requisites
The GI tags in India started gaining speed and recognition after the act was
enacted in 1999 and there were several amendments in the older laws as well,
like the Patents Act of 1970 was amended. Over the time GI has become a
signifier of quality. After the act was enacted it was accompanied by the GI of
Goods ( Registration and Protection) Rules 2020 and the act was finally enforced
in September 2003. The government established the Registry at Chennai where
anyone could apply for the GI Tag protection of their commodity. The definition
of GI Tag as given under section 2(3).
Section 2(3) goes like this:
"Geographical indication", in relation to goods, means an indication which
identifies such goods as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods
as originating, or manufactured in the territory of a country, or a region or
locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other
characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical
origin and in case where such goods are manufactured goods one of the activities
of either the production or of processing or preparation of the goods concerned
takes place in such territory, region or locality, as the case may be."
This in itself is a very self- inclusive definition of GI Tag. Registration of
GI Tag is important due to various reasons, most important being-
"The identification enables the product to gain reputation and goodwill, which
results in premium prices in the national as well as international market, which
increases the sale of this product.
The registration gives a right to protect against unauthorized use as per the GI
Act 1999, by a third party."
GI promotes the ownership of a commodity, the identity of the commodity, by a
community. It shares the benefit earned from the selling of that commodity to
the whole community. It creates a sense of belonging in the community of a
particular area or region. It also proves fruitful to producers and artisans who
earn profit due to consumer's choice of acquiring a particular product in a
Some good examples include that of Tequila and Toscano
getting a GI tag, after which everyone associated with the plantation and
production of agave and olives benefitted from the profit. GI promotes domestic
development and growth because these are given to the local pre- existing
products, which boosts the economy. GI Tag helps in reducing the migration from
rural to urban areas in search of job. It helps in preserving local indigenous
knowledge, and promotes tourism in the region.
Sections 8 and 9 of the GI Registration Act explain about the requirements a
commodity has to fulfil before getting registered as a GI of a particular place.
Talks about the Registration to be in respect of particular goods
and area, it goes like this
" Any good can be given a GI tag, if the class of goods is classified by the
registrar and is limited to a certain territory of a country, or a particular
region of the territory.
The registrar classifies the goods with the help of International Classification
of goods for the purposes of registration of Geographical Indication.
If the registrar wants, he can publish in the prescribed manner an alphabet wise
index of the goods classified.
If a question arises due to uncertainty of the list, like in which
classification a particular good shall lie, then in such matter registrar takes
cognizance, and the final decision rests on him."
Whereas section 9 talks about the prohibition of registration of certain goods
as GI tag.
Section 9 goes like this:
Nothing can be registered as a GI tag which:
- Might likely cause deceive or create confusion.
- The use of which would be contrary to the law in force.
- Which contains or comprises scandalous or obscene matter.
- Which might hurt religious sentiments of any class or section of the citizens of
- Which are disentitled for protection in a court.
- Which are generic names and can't be protected because they have no special
characteristics and everything.
- Which are goods of one territory or region but falsely represent the people and
locality of another region or territory.
- The application of registration can be moved by "any association of persons or
producers or any organization or authority established by or under any law for
time being in force representing the interest of the producers of the concerned
goods, who are desirous of registering a GI 
Then they have to provide in writing, in the prescribed form with three copies
along with the prescribed fees. The cost of application for each class of goods
is 5000 INR. It is a very lengthy and cumbersome process and if no opposition or
objections are raised then it takes up to 9 months. There is no minimum time
limit set up for the paper work, but if someone opposes then it can take up to
24 months, and another big burden is that a GI tag needs to be renewed every 10
The application for renewal must be submitted no later than 6 months
before the GI's or authorized user's last registration expires. It must be filed
by the registered proprietor, or, if that is not possible, by any of the
authorized users on record. If, at the expiration of a GI's or an ID's last
registration, the renewal costs for the GI or authorized user are not paid, the
Registrar may remove the GI or authorized user from the system. The case may be
removed from the register, and the fact should be announced as soon as possible
in the journal.
How Does a GI Tag Protect a Commodity?
The main reason behind allotting a commodity a GI tag is that a particular
geographical location has particular qualities that no other place can
replicate. The identity of a product is related to its place of origin and
therefore no other person outside the community or location can use it or
falsely claim it to be their property.
Geographical Indications help in
preserving the local culture and tradition in the era of ever-growing
globalization and free- market. "GI protection has been widely understood as a
medium by which the old world secures their knowledge from the new world". "
The World Intellectual Property Organization, for instance, maintains that GIs
can also 'highlight specific qualities of a product which are due to human
factors that can be found in the place of origin of the products, such as
specific manufacturing skills and traditions"
GI tags has been creating a debate between these two worlds specially in the
matters of agriculture particularly in Europe where the government wishes to
protect their farmer from succumbing to pressure of international low- cost
market. The main aim of a GI is to protect the authenticity and heritage of the
commodity in an age where everything around the globe is similar, and in return
profit from such authentic production.
And it does in fact protects a commodity and gives it the recognition needed by
putting up the commodity in its truest form and making people aware about its
origin and authenticity, by this manner it helps in protecting the intellectual
property vested in the commodity. The intellectual property mostly is the place
of origin and the technique by which it is made. It protects unauthorized use of
the commodity. This provision is given under sections 21 and 22 of the
Geographical Indications Act.
Section 21 of the act talks about the rights conferred on the holder of a GI
after the registration. It goes like this:
- GI, if registered properly will give the holder right against
- The right to use the commodity for which it is registered.
- The exclusive right to the use of a geographical indication given under
clause (b) of sub-section (1) shall be subject to any condition and
limitation to which the registration is subject.
- if two people have the GI tag of the same or similar commodity, they'll
be able to use both commodities, but they won't infringe each -others'
rights and will have the same rights against each other that they would have
had if they were the sole owners of that particular GI tag."
Whereas section 22(1) of the act talks about infringing a GI tag owner's right,
- A GI tag is infringed by a person who is not an authorized user of the
tag if he:
- Uses the tag in such a manner which makes other people believe that the
particular commodity originates from another location instead of the
location for it is given the tag.
- Uses it to pass- off a commodity falsely.
- uses another geographical indication to the goods which, although
literally true as to the territory, region or locality in which the goods
originate, falsely represents to the persons that the goods originate in the
territory, region or locality in respect of which such registered
geographical indication relates.
Infringement of GI has some punishments with it, a holder can exercise their
right in case of infringement and make the person pay for it. For instance-
Falsification of GI is punishable with a minimum imprisonment of 6 months which
may extend to 2-3 years and with a minimum fine of 50,000 which may extend to
Selling of goods with false GI tag- imprisonment of 6 months which can extend
till 2 years, with a minimum fine of 50,000 which can extend till 2,00,000.
For false representation with respect to GI there is no minimum punishment, but
the maximum punishment extends to three years of imprisonment.
Kadaknath Chicken, The GI Tag
Kadaknath Chicken comes from the tribal parts of Madhya Pradesh mainly from the
Jhabua and Dhar district. It has been bred by the tribes since very early days
and therefore after much mix and match of various chicken species, this species
with the perfect set of characteristics was developed. The most amusing
characteristic of this breed is the fact that it's totally black in color. The
internal organs and the bones are black as well. It is rich in nutrients and the
meat and eggs are seen as very rich source of protein. It is only black meat
chicken of India and therefore the monetary and nutritional value both of this
breed is very high. It has become a Pan- Indian delicacy now, and is famous in
International culinary as well.
It was mostly reared by the Bhil and Bhilala tribes and comes in three different
shades of black which are jet black, penciled black and golden kadaknath.
"Kadaknath is a hardy breed and can thrive very well under adverse environments
like poor housing, poor management and poor feeding. Kadaknath breed contains a
high percentage of protein and believed to have aphrodisiac properties"
It is poor in breeding but the meat and flesh are very tasty and popular. The
meat has a nutritional value and is used by the tribals for medicinal purposes
as well. Its meat is softer than that of local chicken breed and therefore is
preferred by the consumers. An application for its GI was filed by the Gramin
Vikas Trust of Krishak Bharti Cooperative, and it was granted the tag on 30th
July 2018. Till date it is the only animal to be awarded a GI tag.
As read and discussed several times, the main purpose of a GI tag is to promote
cultural heritage of a product and protecting the unauthorized usage, this in
turn also helps in developing the rural areas from which this commodity hails.
The community gets a share of profit for nurturing these goods and selling them
as well as preserving their authenticity. GI tag also helps in preservation of
commodity, after a commodity gets tagged, all the illegal background work or
poaching as in the case of animals take a halt as strict actions are taken
against those who are found violating these norms. In simpler terms it helps in
preservation of the flora and fauna dedicated to a particular community as well.
Kadaknath hails from the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh and has become the
identity- bearer of the town, and to keep this identity intact and promote local
welfare there are organizations and community which help in promoting this
variety of chicken. One such organization was KVK Jhabua which in 2010 started
with a project to conserve this variety as it was going extinct and also linked
livelihood of farmers with security.
Under National Agricultural Innovation
Project it started with 10 houses and 100 birds, the scientists taught and
trained the locals in breeding and taking care of the birds, several awareness
programs were also run by these scientists and slowly, slowly the breed started
showing signs of development and soon this moment became famous in 13 states of
the country. "The intervention of KVK, Jhabua has led to conservation of
Kadaknath breed, increased employment generation and reduced migration of
The chicken crossed states in 2014 when Kanker KVK procured 300 chicklings and
brought it to the state of Chattisgarh, from where it was transferred to
different parts of Maharastra, Odisha, Telengana Andhra Pradesh as well. It
created wonders for people around Dantewada in Chattisgarh, where after its
procurement it was distributed to Women handled Self- Help Groups which boosted
their confidence, gave them a purpose in life and improved their financial
condition as well.
Due to the fact that Kadaknath became a boon for the states of both Madhya
Pradesh and Chattisgarh, there arised a conflict between the two districts of
Jhabua and Dantewada as to which district should get the GI tag of the chicken
variant. In 2012 the Gramin Vikas Trust of Jhabua Filed for an application on
behalf of the tribal families breeding it, whereas the chairman of Global
Business Incubator PVT LTD. Srinivas Gogineni also filed for the GI claiming
that Kadaknath was reared in a homely space and has helped 160 SHGs to earn
In the end the conflict was resolved after much deliberation and finally in 2018
the GI tag for kadaknath was given to the Jhabua district from which it
originates and from where it has earned its identity and helped several poultry
farmers in earning their livelihood and benefitting their financial situation.
Geographical Indication is one of the latest developments in the field of
intellectual property and therefore has several grey areas still. The main
difference between a GI and a Trademark would be that of cultural authenticity.
As the name suggests, it gives an identity to the goods which are special and
only originate in specific parts of the country, by some very specific
communities only. It not only aims at preserving the commodity but also boosts
livelihood of the local people.
It helps in conservation of the flora and fauna
as well. If a commodity is officially registered as a GI then it has protection
against the unauthorised usage and falsification as well. It becomes a symbol of
authenticity and therefore anything done against such GI becomes a punishable
offence. One such example of a local GI tag is the Kadaknath Chicken which
originates from the Jhabua district and has acted as a boon to the farmers and
tribals over there, the most unique quality of this chicken is that it is
completely black in color, even its internal organs and bones are black which
gives it a unique taste and the meat is softer in comparison to other chicken
varieties and is preferred by the consumers, to preserve this it has been
granted the GI tag after much deliberation and since then the chicken has acted
as a flag- bearer of pride for the entire state. It is also the first animal to
be granted a GI tag.
- WIPO: https://www.wipo.int/geo_indications/en/
- Anupam Mishra, S.R.K Singh, A.A Raut � 'Kadaknath Farming for Farmers' Livelihood and Empowerment' - http://184.108.40.206/download/KadaknathFarmingforFarmers%E2%80%99LivelihoodandEmpowerment.pdf - accessed 10 April 2022
- Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999, S2(3)
- Saumya Vinayan � 'Geographical indications in India: Issues and challenges�An overview' (the journal of world intellectual property)
- Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999, s 8
- Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999, s 9
- Saumya Vinayan � 'Geographical indications in India: Issues and challenges�An overview' (the journal of world intellectual property, 2013) - https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/43938673/Geographical_indications_A_Tool_for_Indian_traditional_food_industry-with-cover-page-v2.pdf
- Kal Raustiala, Stephen R. Munzer � 'The Global Struggle over Geographic Indications' (European Journal of International Law, Volume 18, Issue 2, April 2007) - https://doi.org/10.1093/ejil/chm016
- Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999, S 21
- Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999, S22(1)
- Anupam Mishra, S.R.K Singh, A.A Raut � 'Kadaknath Farming for Farmers' Livelihood and Empowerment' - http://220.127.116.11/download/KadaknathFarmingforFarmersLivelihoodandEmpowerment.pdf - accessed 10 April 2022