This article first appeared in The Statesman on August 20, 2022
Asian countries soon realized the potential of this unique form of protection being extended to their indigenous domestic interests. A Geographical Indication (GI) sign, used on products with a specific geographical origin, which possess qualities or a reputation attributable to that origin, caught the popular imagination in India courtesy the fame and benefits that, for instance, Champagne enjoys, strongly protected as it is a “Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)” since 1967. So was the story with Roquefort cheese. In India, Darjeeling tea looked like a perfect fit into the GI domain. GI, a legal norm of European origin, was transplanted worldwide, including countries of Asia, through the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement in 1995.