After a prolonged legal battle, West Bengal had been finally declared as the winner of the GI tag status for Banglar Rosogolla, against Odisha, which had also claimed Rosogolla as its invention.
The GI authorities have confirmed that West Bengal is the sole founder of this popular sweetmeat, to which a GI official regarded that, “It has been settled under the GI Act that authenticates a product relating to either a geographical location or community or society”.
In West Bengal, confectioner Nobin Chandra Das is titled as the creator of the Rosogolla since 1860s. To this, Odisha claimed that the sweetmeat originated from the Jagannath Temple in Puri, where it is a part of the religious rituals since the 12th century. Odisha termed it ‘Pahala Rasgulla’. However, in its original application to the GI, West Bengal had sought the GI tag on what they call it as “Banglar Rosogolla” (Bengal’s Rasgulla).
Till now, everything is more or less known to everyone. But, now the point is, what is GI tag actually and why is it taken so seriously? So, let’s find out today.
Basically, a GI tag is a sort of intellectual property identifier recognizing the origin of a product. The GI registration office is based in Chennai. Once granted, the GI tag prevents unauthorized use of the geographical indication and boosts exports by giving it a unique identity.
To be more precise, an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorized users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name. Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India, in 2004-05, since then by May 2017, 295 had been added to the list. The other name includes, Tirupathi Laddu, Kangra Paintings, Nagpur Orange and Kashmir Pashmina are among the registered GIs in India.
Famous Banaganapalle mangoes of Andhra Pradesh and Tulapanji rice of West Bengal are also included along with Rosogolla, among the seven commodities that have been granted the Geographical Indications this fiscal year by the Indian patent office.
The other five products which have received this tag this year include Pochampally Ikat of Telangana, Gobindobhog Rice of West Bengal, Durgi Stone Carvings and Etikoppaka Toys of Andhra Pradesh and Chakshesang Shawl of Nagaland, according to the Indian patent office website.
In 2016-17, as many as 33 items got GI registration.
Experts also added that an award of GI tag gives protection to the producer of those genuine products, which commands premium pricing in the markets both domestic and international.
To this, National Intellectual Property Organisation (NIPO) President T C James concluded that “Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product”.