Odisha has bagged the much-awaited Geographical Indication tag for the popular dessert - the Rasagola.The Registrar of Geographical Indications issued a certificate registering the confectionary as 'Odisha Rasagola' officially recognising the product as distinctive to the state.The move comes a year after West Bengal got the GI tag for its popular Banglar Rasogolla. For several years, both states waged a bitter battle over the origin of the delicacy. West Bengal claimed the rasogolla came from the state’s Nadia district. It was appreciated as being a treasure of Bengal by Rakhaldas Adhikari in his poem Rasikata in 1896.While Odisha asserted that the reference of rasagola was found in the late 15th century, Odia Ramayana written by Balaram Das. Now, both states have been given the GI tag for their respective variants of the sweet, recognising two distinct varieties in taste and texture.
What is Geographical Indication?
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.
Significane of GI Tag
Intellectual properties rights like Copyright, Patent, Trademark etc. Geographical Indication Tag provides similar rights and protection to holders. A geographical indication right enables those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards.
Importance of GI Tag:
GI tag helps the producers to differentiate their products from competing products in the mark.
It enables the producers to build a reputation and goodwill around their products, which often fetch a premium price.
The products help in export earning, promotion of tourism, cultural heritage and national identity.
For example Kanjeevaram silk sarees and Pochampally Ikat contribute to exports and popularity.
GIs have great potential to play a major role in trade between countries.
Legal protection to GIs protect livelihoods and encourage employment
Owing to the premium prices that many GIs command today, there is a possibility of preserving many traditional skills.
The special treatment to wines and spirits in TRIPS Agreement appears to be developed country centric.
Developing countries, including India, seek the same higher level of protection for all GIs as was given under TRIPS for wines and spirits.
The battle for GI tag between states.
False use of geographical indications by unauthorized parties is detrimental to consumers and legitimate producers.
Cheap Power loom saris are sold as reputed Banarsi handloom saris, harming both the producers and consumers.
The benefits of GI tag is realised only when these products are effectively marketed and protected against illegal copying. Effective marketing and protection requires quality assurance, brand creation, post-sale consumer feedback and support, prosecuting unauthorised copiers, etc. For internationally recognised products like Darjeeling tea, international protection is of crucial importance. Legal protection to GIs also extends to protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression contained in the products. Hence Intellectual Property is a power tool for economic development and wealth creation particularly in the developing world.