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Friday, September 09, 2011

Assam need to protect Assam Tea

Assam needs to protect Assam tea the same way Cornwall protects its pasties and Parma it's ham. From The Assam Tribune Online, by a staff reporter State lacks awareness on GI Registry Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, July 28 – NE region has the highest number of potential geographical indication (GI) items like handicraft, agricultural and forest products, mineral, etc. But the fact remains that the region is yet to file a significant number of applications with the GI Registry of the country to get its right over these items protected. This is the observation made by Deputy Registrar of Trade Marks and Geographical Indications of the country GL Verma. The Deputy Registrar is in the city on the eve of a one-day seminar-cum-workshop on authorised users of geographical indications. The function is organized by the Geographical Indications Registry of the Union Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The GI Registry has defined the geographical indications of goods “as that aspect of industrial property which refers to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product…” India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999, which came into force with effect from September 15, 2003. Verma said that Karnataka has filed maximum number of applications and got nine of its items registered with the GI Registry and other three items of this South Indian State are under process of being registered. It needs mention here that Assam has got two of its items – muga silk and Assam tea – registered with the GI Registry. But awareness on the need to register the users with the GI Registry is seemed to be absent in the State, particularly in matters of muga silk. India has, according to a survey, over 3,000 potential GIs, which need to be protected. Till now, only 238 applications have been filed before the authorities for the purpose of registering equal number of items, and, of them, 153 have so far been registered, said Verma. Applications for registering the potential GIs should be filed with the GI authorities and the GI authorities have already furnished the details of the applications in their website: On the ownership of the GI items, the Deputy Registrar said that all such items belong to the community and people of particular localities concerned. Some authorities like the State Government, associations like the producers’ guilds, with support from the universities and govt organisations, may come forward for getting such items registered with the GI Registry. The GI Act, 199 of the country aims at registering and providing a legal framework to protect geographical indications of the country, groups and localities, which have special characteristics and quality products.

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