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Community Rights and Geographical Indications

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Community Rights and Geographical Indications
The Concept of Community.
The first step in considering the meaning of community is to understand that, fundamentally, it is a fluid concept. What one person calls a community may not match another person’s definition. A person may be a member of a community by choice, as with voluntary associations, or by virtue of their innate personal characteristics, such as age, gender, race, or ethnicity. As a result, individuals may belong to multiple communities at any one time. When initiating community engagement efforts, one must be aware of these complex associations in deciding which individuals to work within the targeted community.
A community is a group of two or more people who have been able to accept and transcend their differences regardless of the diversity of their backgrounds (social, spiritual, educational, ethnic, economic, political, etc.) This enables them to communicate effectively and openly and to work together toward goals identified as being for their common good. The word community can refer to a specific group of people or it can describe a quality of relationship based on certain values and principles. A community is a group of all leaders who share equal responsibility for and commitment to maintaining its spirit. Community is reflective, contemplative and introspective.
Communities may be viewed as systems composed of individual members and sectors that have a variety of distinct characteristics and interrelationships. These sectors are populated by groups of individuals who represent specialized functions, activities, or interests within a community system. Each sector operates within specific boundaries to meet the needs of its members and those the sector is designed to benefit. For example, schools focus on student education, the economic entities focus on enterprise and employment, and faith organizations focus on the spiritual and physical well-being of people. In reality, these sectors are a few of the many elements that comprise the overall community system.

A Community in a Sociological Perspective: Community is a "sociological construct." It is a set of interactions, human behaviours that have meaning and expectations between its members. Not just action, but actions based on shared expectations, traditions, values, beliefs, knowledge and meanings between individuals. The notion of community refers to a group of people united by at least one common characteristic. Such characteristics could include geography, shared interests, values, experiences, or traditions. When an identified community is a little village, separated by a few kilometers from other villages, in a rural area, its boundaries appear at first to be very simple. That pattern of human interaction may be seen as consisting only of relations between the residents living inside that location, inside that village. In urban areas, a community may be a small group of a few homesteads of people from a common origin. That community in turn, may be part of a neighbourhood community or a barrio or other local urban division. In general an urban community has more fuzzy boundaries, is more difficult to demarcate, is more heterogeneous (varied, mixed), more complex, and more difficult to organize using standard community development methods, and has more complex and sophisticated goals, than rural communities. There may be communities within larger communities, including districts, regions, ethnic groups, nations and other boundaries. The community has a life of its own which goes beyond the sum of all the lives of all its residents. As a social organization, a community is cultural. That means it is a system of systems, and that it is composed of things that are learned rather than transmitted by genes and chromosomes. All the social or cultural elements of a community, from its technology to its shared beliefs, are transmitted and stored by symbols and words.
The community is a cultural organism, Culture consists of all those things, including actions and beliefs which human beings learn, which make them human. Culture includes learned behaviour, but not things which are determined genetically. Culture is stored and transmitted by symbols; never by chromosomes. While some culture is learned in childhood (like how to talk, for example), other culture is learned by adults. Although a community is a cultural system (in that it transcends its individual persons) do not assume that a community is a harmonious unity. It isn't. It is full of factions, struggles and conflicts, based upon differences in gender, religion, access to wealth, ethnicity, class, educational level, income, ownership of capital, language and many other factors.
Concepts of Community Engagement.
A working definition of community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the well-being of those people. It is a powerful vehicle for bringing about environmental and behavioral changes that will improve the health of the community and its members. It often involves partnerships and coalitions that help mobilize resources and influence systems, change relationships among partners, and serve as catalysts for changing policies, programs, and practices.
In practice, community engagement is a blend of social science and art. The science comes from sociology, political science, cultural anthropology, organizational development, psychology, social work, and other disciplines with organizing concepts drawn from the community participation, community mobilization, constituency building, community psychology, cultural influences, and other sources. The equally important artistic element necessary to the process, however, involves using understanding, skill, and sensitivity to apply and adapt the science in ways that fit the community and purposes of specific engagement efforts.
Community Empowerment
An element of community engagement relates to empowerment mobilizing and organizing individuals, grass-roots and community-based organizations, and institutions, and enabling them to take action, influence, and make decisions on critical issues. It is important to note, however, that no external entity should assume that it can bestow on a community the power to act in its own self-interest. Rather, those working to engage the community can provide important tools and resources so that community members can act to gain mastery over their lives. Empowerment takes place at three levels: the (1) individual, (2) organizational or group, and (3) community levels. Empowerment at one level can influence empowerment at the other levels. At the individual level, it is generally referred to as psychological empowerment. Individual level empowerment can be described along three dimensions: (a) intra-personal - an individual’s perceived personal capacity to influence social and political systems; (b) interactional- knowledge and skills to master the systems; and (c) behavioral - actions that influence the systems. This concept of psychological empowerment has been found to relate to an individual’s participation in organizations, the benefits of participation, organizational climate, and the sense of community or perceived severity of problem.
At the group or organizational level, we can distinguish like this : (a) empowering organizations, which "facilitate confidence and competencies of individuals;" and (b) empowered organizations, which influence their environment. The degree to which an organization is empowering for its members may be dependent upon the benefits members receive and organizational climate as well as the levels of commitment and sense of community among members.
The Empowered communities have shared goals, beliefs, values, cultures, institutions etc and provide valued roles for their members. The empowered community can depend on their own resources, balance their own needs and also can share and draw on skills/resources where needed.

Community rights and responsibilities:
Communities also have rights and responsibilities, both to the members of the community and other communities that they are a part of. An empowered community understands these relationships and how these relationships impact on the community, and other communities that are a part of it. Rights of the communities are:
1. the right to its own identity.
2. the right to set its own agenda, constitution and institutions.
3. the right to participate within the wider community.
4. the right to access skills and resources within the wider community.
5. the right to support its members within the wider community.
6. the right to protect its members from influences that disadvantage its members.
7. the right to refuse entry to members that do not fit into the community.
8. the right to evict members that do not accept the agenda, constitution and institutions of the community.
9. the right to refuse skills and resources to the wider community, where its members are disadvantaged.
10. the right to determine its own destiny.

Responsibilities of the community: 1. to ensure the agenda, constitution and institutions of the community, protect and support its members, as well as other communities and their members. 2. to provide a safe, secure environment for its members, as well as other communities and their members. 3. to facilitate the development of valued roles and relationships for the community, its members, as well as other communities and their members. 4. to ensure that the community communicates with its members as well as other communities and their members. 5. to ensure the community does not disadvantage other communities or their members. 6. to responsibility use, and share, skills and resources to the advantage of its members, as well as other communities and their members. 7. to respect, protect and promote the rights, cultures and institutions of other communities and their members. 8. to engage with other communities in an interdependent relationship.
Most communities are reactive, rather than proactive. Its only when something happens that has an impact on all members of the community that anyone is inclined to do anything. Small issues can go on for years without being a threat to the community. It is only through some form of social activity that draws the attention of the community to the issue, that solutions can be found. There is also the problem that any solution is generally not representative of the community as a whole.
Communities also have some issues which has to be withstand to make it empowered, such as- a. poor leadership - lack of direction, lack of focus, power plays within different groups, lack of communication and negotiation. b. the institutions of the community - while important to the stability of the community, they often act as the breaks, where the community is not accepting new ideas or innovations that allow the community to effectively respond to the needs of its members. Cultures, class divisions, set ways of thinking, patterns of behaviours and expectations all determine the way the community treats its members. c. ineffective management of skills and resources - lack of coordination, uneven distribution, shortages, trying to do too much, or doing too little, competition of existing skills and resources. d. ineffective planning - growing too big or too fast. e. competition with other communities - communities generally view other communities and groups with suspicion, or as threats, rather than allies and assets.
All impact on the ability of the community to provide for its own needs, the needs of its members, as well as the needs of other communities and their members.

Growth and expansion:
Is not a goal or ideal that a community should aspire towards, but as a way to provide for the needs of a community. Growth and expansion is not an end, but a means to an end. As the member’s needs increase, the community needs to find new ways to meet those needs. It may need more space, skills and resources. Often growth and expansion works to the disadvantage of a community, where its existing resources are stretched to the limit. The community becomes unfocused and uncoordinated. Community growth and expansion is dependent on existing skills and resources that are within the community as well as the communities that it is a part of. As a result programs are substandard, or do not get finished. Communication breaks down. The community may become fractured where needs are not being met.

Collective Personality of a Community

It is common perception that community knowledge has historical background, but, community knowledge is not necessarily ancient. It is evolving all the time, even daily creation as individuals and communities take up the challenges presented by their social and physical environment. In many ways therefore, traditional knowledge is actually contemporary knowledge. Traditional and other knowledge is embedded in community knowledge systems, which each community has developed and maintained in its local context. The commercial and other advantages deriving from that use could give rise to intellectual property questions that could in turn be multiplied by international trade, communications and cultural exchange.

Original view on a possible approach to take to recognize communal rights (Traditional knowledge or other rights) takes inspiration from developments in the law of personality. The essential aspects of the law of personality pertaining to privacy, confidentiality and publicity can provide adequate protection for a collective personality of a traditional community. The two very important questions asks in this context are ‘‘can a community be considered to have a collective personality, as a way of characterizing a shared, but distinctive, cultural identity; and, if so, how should its integrity be protected?’’. The answers suggest that the possibility of establishing a right of collective personality also depends on the recognition of identity of collective entities, which is goes to the legal personality and standing of a community. The issue that reaches beyond the notion of simple recognition of identity is the one concerned with establishing a separate legal category recognized as a collective personality. The suggestion that it would simply be a matter of extending notions of personality already existing in the law. Indeed, it appears reasonable to increase the scope of the legal notion of personality to collective personality from those already been recognized.

In addition to giving recognition to a concept of collective personality, adequately protecting traditional knowledge also means deciding what this recognition affords these groups in terms of rights that can be exercised by the collective and the cause of action that can be invoked to remedy infringement of its rights to personality proper. So here, the question is: how should the integrity of collective personality be protected? In short, protection of a community’s collectively held traditional knowledge does not mean simply closing off links with other cultural communities or of the related commercial domain to exploit that knowledge. It might, however, mean deciding what aspects of the collective identity may be used and disseminated beyond the community, and on what terms. The constraints of customary law for exercising confidentiality for example in cases where knowledge should be passed on to a certain birth age cohort, or to traditional medicine apprentices only for instance must be negotiated at all times in order to respect the cultural identity that forms an important part of the essence of the community. In summary, the causes of action that would be available to infringement on the right of personality would be:

Recognizing a collective right of personality systematically or through the case law, may help restore the public interest dimension to the law of personality, deliver equity to the culturally dispossessed, and deploy the law of personality and general IP law to promote, not stifle, cultural diversity. The two options discussed here are (1) to place artists (or community members) in fiduciary trust of the symbols and component items of their traditions by way of the law of equity; or (2) to develop the law of personality to recognize collective personality and provide mechanisms to maintain its integrity. These approaches stand in stark conceptual contrast from each other in that the first still attaches traditional rights to individual entities or persons, while the second would entirely supersede the notion of individualism entrenched in Western legal tradition, and nearly approximate the particular sense of collective identity which is known to belong to a large number of traditional communities.

Farmers and Community Rights

“Community rights recognise that the customary practices of local communities derive from a priori duties and responsibilities to past and future generations of both human and other species. This reflects a fundamental relationship with all life, and is imbued with an innate demand for respect. Despite the fact that this worldview is not commonly understood by the dominant western world, the purpose of these rights is to recognise and protect the multi-cultural nature of the human species. Community rights and responsibilities that govern the use, management and development of biodiversity, as well as the traditional knowledge, innovations and practices relating to them, existed long before private rights over biodiversity emerged, and concepts of individual ownership and property arose. Community rights are thus regarded as natural, inalienable, pre-existing or primary rights.
The rights of local communities over their biodiversity lead to the formalization of their existing communal control over biodiversity. This system of rights, which enhances the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promotes the use and further development of knowledge and technologies, is absolutely essential for the identity of local communities and for the continuation of their irreplaceable role in the conservation and sustainable use of this biodiversity”.

Intellectual property rights compensate only for the latest innovations without taking into consideration the fact that, in many cases, innovations are based on the accumulated knowledge and innovations carried out over millennia by generations of farmers and their communities in conservation and the development of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture but also for national food sovereignty and national security. In intellectual property law there is need to protect the farmers’ rights under community rights, because the efforts of farmers and their communities to enrich and sustainably manage agricultural biodiversity which is the basis of agricultural production and livelihoods for many communities.
In recognition of the enormous contribution that the local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions in the world have made and will continue to make in the conservation and development of plant genetic resources which constitute the basis of food and agricultural production throughout the world, Article 9 of the above International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, recognizes farmers’ rights. According to Article 9.2, the responsibility for the protection and realization of farmers’ rights rests with national governments to determine in accordance with their needs and priorities and according to their national legislation.
The basis for the international recognition of farmers’ rights lies in the enormous contribution that the local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world have made and will continue to make in the conservation, sustainable use and development of plant genetic resources which constitute the foundation of agriculture production and development throughout the world. smallholder farmers and their farming communities are undoubtedly part of those world farmers that have enormously contributed to nurturing, enhancing and making available plant genetic resources which are the foundation of modern plant breeding and agricultural development. It is not in dispute that over the years, through their various farming techniques, innovations and practices. The farmers and their communities have developed and continue to develop many plant varieties and adapt existing ones to suit different environments and climatic conditions. In this way, the farmers enrich and contribute to the sustainable management of agricultural biodiversity which is key in guaranteeing food and livelihood security of nations. Through the protection of their traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources and ensuring that farmers’ and their communities benefit from the utilization of plant genetic resources, farmers’ and community rights therefore represent a strategic instrument for ensuring the continuation of the farmers’ practices of nurturing, maintaining and enriching agro-biodiversity. This is very important for ensuring the future availability of diversity of plant genetic resources which are the foundation of agriculture development and food production.
Majority of farmers and their communities are very poor people who cannot afford to buy commercial seeds every planting season, they rely on their traditional system of seed saving, reusing and exchange as the most important source of seed supply for agricultural production. This system, backward as it may be branded, has been very instrumental in contributing to household and national food security. In particular, the farmers’ system of seed saving, reusing and exchange has helped to ensure that farmers and their communities maintain sovereignty and control over their systems of food production, distribution and supply. With the advent of genetic engineering techniques, which are monopolistically controlled by the big multinational companies based in the industrialized countries, the protection of plant breeders’ rights without the effective protection of the farmers’ right to save, reuse, exchange and sell their farm saved seed and propagating material threatens to remove local and national control over seed and food production and place it into the hands of multinational corporations. This would be disastrous in terms of ensuring household and national food security which is apparently one of the major objectives of the proposed plant variety protection legislation. It is therefore essential that the plant variety protection legislation recognizes and protects farmers’ rights as an important mechanism for ensuring that farmers and their local communities maintain control over their systems of seed and food production, distribution and supply.
Over 80% of poor people live in rural areas and depend on farming to meet their every day needs and survival. Despite their enormous contribution to the country’s economy, the farmers remain undoubtedly the poorest and most vulnerable group in society. One of the major objectives of farmers’ and community rights is to ensure that the farmers and their communities fairly and equitably share in the benefits derived from the utilization of plant genetic resources. These benefits can be monetary or non monetary. They range from access to and transfer of technology to exchange of information, capacity building and sharing of monetary and other benefits arising from commercialization. The protection and effective realization of farmers’ and community rights to the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of plant genetic resources can therefore immensely contribute to the fight against poverty in the nation. Also, the protection and effective realization of the farmers’ right to save, use, exchange and sell their farm produce and other propagating materials means that the farmers can save a lot in terms of not having to buy commercial seeds and the necessary inputs from the market each planting season. This can therefore also be one important way in which the protection of farmers’ rights can help in the fight against poverty which remains major development challenges.

Farmers’ Rights
a) Protection of traditional Knowledge relevant to farmers’ varieties;
b) The right to equitably participate in sharing benefits arising from the use of farmers’ varieties;
c) The right to participate in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant varieties;
d) The right to save, use, exchange and sell farm saved seed or propagating material; and
e) The right to use a new breeders’ protected variety to develop farmers’ varieties.

Community Intellectual Rights
1) The Community Intellectual Rights of the local communities, including traditional professional groups, particularly traditional practioners, shall at all times remain inalienable, and shall be protected under the new mechanism.
2) An item of community innovation, practice, knowledge or technology, or a particular use of a biological or any other natural resource shall be identified, interpreted and ascertained by the local communities concerned themselves under their customary practice and law, whether such law is written or not.
3) Non-registration of any community innovations, practices, knowledge or technologies, is not to mean that these are not protected by Community Intellectual Rights.
4) The publication of a written or oral description of a biological resource and its associated knowledge and information, or the presence of these resources in a gene bank or any other collection, or its local use, shall not preclude the local community from exercising.

“Communities also shall have the right over their innovations
a) Ownership of their plant varieties;
b) the right to collectively benefit from the use of their plant varieties;
c) their technologies, knowledge, innovations and practices acquired through generations;
d) the right to collectively benefit from the utilization of their knowledge and technologies, innovations and practices
e) their rights to use their knowledge and technologies, innovations and practices in the conservation and sustainable use of plant varieties;
f) the exercise of collective rights as legitimate custodians, users of their varieties.”

National Security Considerations- Closely linked with the need to ensure food security as a major justification for protecting farmers’ and community rights, is the question of national security. Food sovereignty/security is one of the most important guarantees for ensuring national security. A nation that does not produce its own seed and food cannot be considered a secure country. By ensuring that farmers and the local communities maintain control over their systems of seed and food production, distribution and supply as highlighted above, the protection of farmers’ and community rights in the plant variety protection legislation would therefore also simultaneously contribute to ensuring national security.

Traditionally, innovation in agriculture has proceeded through collective community processes, drawn from customary practices based on sharing. Innovation, however, can come in many forms and there are many different people that can be considered innovators. An employee of a company may invent a new way to make cars more energy efficient, while a farmer may develop a new way to keep rats out of her fields. Both of these people are innovators. But only one of them stands to benefit from an exclusive monopoly on the invention. IPRs do not automatically help to encourage or reward innovation. The innovation of farmers is particularly important when it comes to plant breeding. It is estimated that farmers depend on seeds cultivated within their own communities for as much as 90% of their seed needs. They carefully select those seeds that respond to various soil types and growing conditions and that carry particular traits such as stability, disease resistance, drought tolerance, palatability, and storage quality.
The notion of monopoly rights is completely alien to the traditional processes of innovation in farmer communities. As explained by IPR expert Andrew Mushita of Zimbabwe, “In the African context, customary law is applied. It does not recognise private proprietary rights but rather community resource rights. All resources belong to everyone and they are regulated by the community's cultural and local knowledge systems and practices. In this sense, farmers have exchanged seeds among themselves since time immemorial, passing from neighbour to neighbour, mother to daughter, mother-in-law to daughter in law, or even across villages and communities. Even labour is shared for such activities as land preparation, ploughing, planting, processing or threshing and harvesting of crops. Land ownership has always been collective with individuals having user-friendly rights to the land.” According to Institute for Sustainable Development in Ethiopia, it is through this “collective generation, modification, conservation and exchange across generations and communities, that knowledge, technologies and biodiversity became owned and managed by the community, and used by anyone who wants them. Charging money for access is unknown, though reciprocation in kind is a necessary element for the perpetuation of the system.”

It is not disputed that the bounty of seeds that form the basis of our food and agriculture have been carefully selected, improved and developed by generations of farmers and their communities. Through their different farming techniques and practices, these farmers and their farming communities have helped to develop many plant varieties to suit many different environments and climatic conditions. It is these varieties that form the basis of modern plant breeding. Farmers are therefore also innovators who deserve to be recognised and rewarded for their innovations in nurturing and developing new plant varieties.
The law should therefore recognize and protect the knowledge, practices and innovations of farmers and their communities with respect to the conservation and development of plant varieties. One major way of doing this is by recognizing and protecting farmers’ varieties under less stringent and limited requirements compared to those required of the scientific plant breeders.For instance, because farmers’ varieties are not genetically uniform, uniformity should not be a requirement for recognition and protection of such varieties. It is worth observing that the non uniform nature of farmers’ varieties is instrumental in maintaining and enriching agro-biodiversity. It ensures the availability of genetically diverse plant varieties unlike the varieties bred by the modern scientists which are genetically uniform.

Community rights and Geographical Indications

Collective knowledge is the information that people in a given community, based on experience and adaptation to a local culture and environment, have developed over time, and continues to develop. This knowledge is used to sustain the community and its culture and to maintain the genetic resources necessary for the continued survival of the community. Indigenous knowledge is collective in nature and is often considered the property of the entire community, and not belonging to any single individual within the community. It is transmitted through specific cultural and traditional information exchange mechanisms, for example, maintained and transmitted orally through elders or specialists (breeders, healers, etc.), and often to only a select few people within a community.

Indigenous community people claim that existing intellectual property rights (IPR) systems do not provide adequate recognition and protection of their cultural products and expressions. Indigenous community people intellectual property rights extend to include a wide range of subject matter, beyond what is recognised within existing intellectual property rights and other protection systems. They are closely linked to land, cultural heritage and environment, and also to cultural property. In addition, Indigenous communities possess some unique features of their knowledge, creative expressions and innovations, which emphasise communal rights, in which many creative works are of an indefinable antiquity, and in which cultural products, expressions and manifestations are tightly integrated into all other aspects of society. These features are at odds with conventional western notions of intellectual property. Indigenous peoples' intellectual property rights are being exploited in many and diverse ways. Works of art are misappropriated, and Indigenous peoples' biological resources, knowledge and human genetic materials are collected and patented without due recognition being given or benefits distributed to the Indigenous peoples concerned.

A large number of local and village communities are involved in the production of the Geographical Indications (GIs) products. Such recognized community products have a good reputation and wide market. However, individuals and their communities do not have a cultural mindset conducive to legal protection of Geographical Indications at the community level. The traders reap the major economic benefits when compared to the actual producers of GIs products. In the majority of the cases traditional knowledge associated with GI products is known to members of the community and is often used and promoted by outsiders, which would make the right granted hard to enforce. Countries must think of introducing amendments in the law focusing on the protection to actual producers of GIs so as to protect the interest of the holders of TK in the registered GIs. There must also be express provision in the law to protect the TK held in secret while registering the GIs. Importantly in such cases only actual producers who are sole holders of the TK will be allowed to register the GIs. They must also be allowed to keep the information secret.

Geographical indications and appellations of origin
Geographical indications, especially appellations of origin, may be used to enhance the commercial value of natural, traditional and craft products of all kinds if their particular characteristics may be attributed to their geographical origin. A number of products that come from various regions are the result of traditional processes and knowledge implemented by one or more communities in a given region. The special characteristics of those products are appreciated by the public, and may be symbolized by the indication of source used to identify the products. Better exploitation and promotion of traditional geographical indications would make it possible to afford better protection to the economic interests of the communities and regions of origin of the products.

Protection under GI
The protection is granted to GI through registration. The registration of geographical indications is not granted to any individual. It is a national property. It is granted to associations of person or producers or communities or to an organization or authority representing the interests of the producers of goods such as coffee board, tea board or spices or Indian Council of Agricultural research and who are desirous of registering the geographical indication in relation to such goods. After the GI is first registered in the name of association of persons, separate and individual registration is granted in the names of actual users of GI. Objectives of the protection of GI * the promotion of products with specific characteristics, particularly those coming from less-favoured or rural areas; * the improvement of the income of farmers, in return for a "genuine effort to improve quality"; * the retention of population in rural areas; * the provision of clear and succinct information to consumers regarding product origin.
Geographical indication is a collective right which is given to a community of producers to produce their goods using the GI designation. Thus, the fundamental question which arises is whether the grant of a GI to a private individual is permissible under the law. To answer this question, it is imperative to examine the relevant provisions of GI Act. Section 2(n) of the GI Act, clearly provides that with respect to a geographical indication a registered proprietor means “any association of persons or producers or any organization for the time being entered in the register as proprietor of the geographical indication.” Section 11 (1) further says that the application for GI designation has to be made to the Registrar by “any association of persons or any organization or authority established by or under any law for the time being in force representing the interest of the producers of the concerned goods, who are desirous of registering a geographical indication in relation to such goods.” Rule 32(5) of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002 (GI Rules) requires that a statement containing particulars of the producers of the concerned goods proposed to be registered be submitted for registration. It is noteworthy that the rule refers only to “producers” and does not envisage a situation wherein there is a single producer of the good. The requirement of Rule 32(6) (a) makes the intention of the legislature even clearer. This Rule makes it mandatory for the applicant to submit an affidavit to show “as to how the applicant claims to represent the interest of the association of persons or producers.” Rule 32(6) (f) further requires the association of persons or organization or authority representing the interest of the producers to provide its full name and address.
From the above discussion it is clear that the Act allows only a class or group of persons or producers or an association representing the interests of the producers to be the authorized user of a GI. The principal rationale behind instituting a system for GIs is the preservation of cultural traditions and traditional know-how by benefiting indigenous communities of producers. In India, GI is often termed as the poor man’s IP because most of the applicants for GIs are farmers, artisans and craftsmen from the lower economic strata or an organization representing them.

The GI registration would have been warranted because then an entire class of people would be benefiting from the use of the GI. Even in other jurisdictions such as the European Union, only a group of producers or processors can apply for GI. This is because the whole purpose of registering a good as a GI is to ensure that economic benefits are uniformly distributed among all the producers of a geographic region whose products share similar characteristics and quality. It does not seek to protect the business interests of single producer in a particular region.

A GI as defined under the GI Act, identifies goods as originating or being manufactured in a specific geographic region where a given quality or reputation or other characteristic of such goods are essentially attributable to its geographic origin. For instance, the unique flavour of Darjeeling tea, which is distinct from tea grown in any other region in the world, can be attributed to a combination of various natural factors like soil, climate, rainfall and sloping terrains found in the region. GI protection confers exclusive rights on all the producers of a geographical area in respect of goods provided that they adhere to authentic standards of production. Its main function is to act as an appellation or indicator of the geographical origin of the product in question. Hence, the community of producers of particular goods of geographical area has the right to commercialize the particular goods.

Generic Nature Of The Name
Another substantive requirement for acquiring GI status is that the GI should not have become generic in nature. For example, the name “Kolhapuri chappal” which was originally used for chappals made in Kolhapur district in Rajasthan now has become a generic name and refers to a type of leather chappal having a characteristic design. Section-9(1) of the GI Act clarifies that “generic names or indications, in relation to goods, means the name of goods which, although relates to the place or the region where the goods was originally produced or manufactured, has lost its original meaning and has become the common name of such goods and serves as a designation for or indication of the kind, nature, type or other property or characteristic of the goods.” Sec-9(2) further provides that “In determining whether the name has become generic, account shall be taken of all factors including the existing situation in the region or place in which the name originates and the area of consumption of the goods.

Protected designation of origin (PDO)
Protected designation of origin is defined as ‘the name of a region, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, a country, used to describe an agricultural product or a foodstuff: originating in that region, specific place or country, and the quality or characteristics of which are essentially or exclusively due to a particular geographical environment with its inherent natural and human factors, and the production, processing and preparation of which take place in the defined geographical area’. The requirements for a protected designation of origin are more stringent in so far as the product must not only originate in the place but its quality must be exclusively due to a particular geographical environment with its inherent natural and human factors. To qualify for a PDO, the product must be produced within the specified geographical area, and the product’s quality or characteristics must be ‘essentially due to that area’. The Protected designation of origin is the name of an area, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, the name of a country, used as a designation for an agricultural product or a foodstuff, * which comes from such an area, place or country, * whose quality or properties are significantly or exclusively determined by the geographical environment, including natural and human factors, * whose production, processing and preparation takes place within the determined geographical area.
In other words, to receive the PDO status, the entire product must be traditionally and entirely manufactured (prepared, processed and produced) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties.

Protected geographical indication (PGI)
The protected geographical indication (PGI) is broadly enough defined for most locally-based products to take advantage of its protection. The PGI requires the product to be produced, processed, or prepared in the geographical area, and the quality, reputation, or other characteristics to be generally ‘attributable’ rather than ‘essentially due’ to that area. At its most attenuated point the definition of a PGI simply requires a link between the product and the reputation of the place. The product need not originate entirely from the defined area and need only have one particular quality, rather than the majority of the food’s characteristics, that is attributable to the geographical area. The Protected geographical indication is the name of an area, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, the name of a country, used as a description of an agricultural product or a foodstuff, * which comes from such an area, place or country, * which has a specific quality, goodwill or other characteristic property, attributable to its geographical origin, * whose production, processing or preparation takes place within the determined geographical area.
In other words, to receive the PGI status, the entire product must be traditionally and at least partially manufactured (prepared, processed or produced) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties.

Traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG)
The Traditional speciality guaranteed is a trademark for an agricultural product or a foodstuff, which has a certain feature or a set of features, setting it clearly apart from other similar products or foodstuffs belonging to the same category. The product or foodstuff must be manufactured using traditional ingredients or must be characteristic for its traditional composition, production process, or processing reflecting a traditional type of manufacturing or processing. In other words, to receive a Traditional speciality guaranteed status, the product does not have to be manufactured in a specific geographically delimited area; it is sufficient that it be traditional and different from other similar products.

Linkage between Product and Place
The choice between PDO and PGI will turn on the proximity of the product with the place of production. This means taking account of the character of the place of origin, including the landholding, climate, the number of producers, the method of production and the size of the area of production. Finally, in as much as the definitions of PDO and PGI are based upon the linkage of product with place, applicants should be aware of their affect on the nature of ownership. As both the PGI and PDO are primarily related to the place where the goods are produced, they are addressed to a group of producers in the abstract. This means that producers who were not part of the original application, or members of a producer association, but have subsequently purchased a landholding in the defined geographic area, are entitled to use the protected name, provided that their products conform to the registered specification.

Geographical Area of Production
Significantly, no specific criteria exist for delimiting the geographic area. Factors extraneous to the linkage of quality production with the land, notably political or linguistic boundaries are not considered relevant, in so far as the natural and human factors inherent in a given product are likely to transcend administrative borders. ‘An area of origin which is defined on the basis either of the extent of national territory or a linguistic criterion cannot constitute a geographical area capable of justifying an indication of origin’, particularly when the products in question could be produced from raw materials of indeterminate origin.

IPR laws are generally inappropriate and inadequate for defending the rights and resources of local communities. IPR protection is purely economic, whereas the interests of indigenous peoples are only partly economic and linked to self-determination. Furthermore, cultural incompatibilities exist in that traditional knowledge is generally shared and, even when it is not, the holders of restricted knowledge probably still do not have the right to commercialize it for personal gain. Various indigenous communities and ethnic groups that have occupied similar environments may possess the same, or similar, technical knowledge regarding a specific resource and its use. Therefore, payments to one community could engender conflict between indigenous groups and result in protracted legal battles. This potential conflict between groups calls into question the wisdom of using IPR mechanisms in attempting to award retroactive payments for indigenous knowledge. Furthermore, the lack of economic self-sufficiency of indigenous peoples and the unequal power relations between themselves and the corporate world would make it very difficult for communities to defend their IPR. Preventing companies from infringing their IPR, for example, by applying for patents based on knowledge derived from, but not identical to, that of the community, presents serious difficulties because of the potentially high cost of litigation.

[ 2 ]. Thompson et al., 1990, on ‘Community and its empowerment’
[ 3 ]. Dr Phil Bartle, what is community? A Sociological Perspective,
[ 4 ]. Antony Taubman’s view on community knowledge,
[ 5 ]. The Organisation of African Unity’s African Model Legislation for the Protection of the Rights of Local Communities, Farmers and Breeders, and for the Regulation of Access to Biological Resources covers community rights.
[ 6 ]. Farmers’ Rights Recognized and Protected in Section 41 (1) of the 2004 Draft Plant Variety Protection Bill, Uganda.
[ 7 ]. African model legislation for the protection of the rights of local communities, farmers and breeders, and for the regulation of access to biological resources.
[ 8 ]. Community Rights Recognised in Section 32 of the 2004 Draft Plant Variety Protection Bill, Uganda.
[ 9 ]. Tewolde Egziabher and Sue Edwards of the Institute for Sustainable Development in Ethiopia.
[ 10 ]. Grant Of Geographical Indication Designation To Tirupati Laddu: Commercialization Of Faith? Meghna Banerjee & Susanah Nausahd*, NUJS LAW REVIEW 3 NUJS L. REV.107 (2010)
[ 11 ]. Oskari Rovamo, MONOPOLISING NAMES? The Protection of Geographical Indications in the European Community,Helsinki University, August 2006, p-39
[ 12 ]. Ibid, p-40…...

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