To protect indigenous art forms and commercial products restricted to a particular area like the ‘Kangri’ of Kashmir, IIT Kharagpur will help such communities get Geographical Indication (GI) tags and broad- base the market of their products.
Announcing the new project, IIT Kharagpur Director P P Chakrabarti said in the next three to five years, they will identify 100 such products all over the country and help the community get the GI tag.
To begin with, the Intellectual Property cell of the institute has recently taken up activities to facilitate the process of filing of GI for ‘Goyna Bori’, the fine art of using lentil paste mix to create exquisite designs, distinct in West Bengal’s Midnapore.
With distinct historical basis dating back several centuries of the Rajbari and also referred by Rabindranath Tagore in his works, ‘Goyna Bori’ is believed to have originated in Midnapore.
Apart from being edible, Goyna Bori is actually more about unique pieces of fine art having great appeal to the eye.
Besides sweets from the state, the IIT has also planned to file GI for Kangri, a basket that is traditionally used by the people of Kashmir to keep themselves warm by keeping burning charcoals in it.
“We have spoken to the patent office that as an institution we want to file GIs. The communities will get the rights. After that we will help them build an economy around it.
“The entire region will benefit out of this. In the past, India had to fight for intellectual property rights for turmeric. But once these communities get the GI tag they will only have the right to that brand,” Chakabarti said.
The IIT model will be a five-year project which will begin after the community gets the GI tag. For the first year, they will pay everything besides the labour cost and from the second year onwards the IIT will start taking back the money in a phased manner.
“These communities may not be prosperous as others are using the brand value of their product. We will ensure that they make good business out of it,” he said, adding that for the project the IPR team will work closely with the local communities.
Once the communities get the GI tag then others will not be able to sell the product by claiming it is from that particular region.
The geographical indication (GI) tag identifies a product as originating from a particular location and conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness that is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin.
Once granted, the GI tag prevents unauthorised use of the geographical indication and boosts exports by giving it a unique identity.
Products like ‘Dajeeling Tea’ ad Mysore silk are examples of popular GI tags in India.