Protection Of Traditional Knowledge As Geographical Indications
Protection of Traditional
Knowledge as Geographical
Indications : Policy Issues
Achintya Nath Sexena
To analyze the scope of
Geographical Indications protection
for Traditional Knowledge and policy
requirements in the Indian context.
What is Traditional Knowledge ?
Traditional Knowledge (TK) is a broad
term referring to knowledge systems,
encompassing a wide variety of
areas, held by traditional groups or
communities or to knowledge
acquired in a non-systemic way.
These knowledge systems have
significance and relevance not only to
its holders but to the rest of the
The Value of Traditional Knowledge
Economic & Monetary
Social & Cultural
Need for Protection of Traditional
For inclusive development.
Protection of National Economic interests w.r.t.
manufacturing, retail, and exports.
Protection of National Intellectual Property in
the form of Genetic Resources, Bio-diversity,
folklore and other intangible IP assets.
Preservation of National Culture- benefits
tourism and national innovation.
“Geographical indication”, in relation to goods,
means an indication which identifies such goods
as agricultural goods, natural goods or
manufactured goods as originating, or
manufactured in the territory of country, or a
region or locality in that territory, where a given
quality, reputation or other characteristic of such
goods is essentially attributable to its geographical
origin and in case where such goods are
manufactured goods one of the activities of either
the production or of processing or preparation of
the goods concerned takes place in such territory,
region or locality, as the case may be. (Section
2(c) of the GI(R&P) Act, 1999, India)
Interface between Traditional
Knowledge and Geographical
(1) Geographical Indications can be applied
to tangible manifestations of Traditional
Knowledge that can be identified with a
(2) GI Law can be used to make policy that
facilitates inclusive growth based on
traditional knowledge across geographical
regions of the country.
Geographical Indications : Indian Law
The Law of Geographical Indications is a law
facilitating holistic economic development and
public policy to that effect.
It gives rights to the community organizations and
associations of manufacturers of the goods to
exploit the GI leading to more equitable and
distributed growth potential.
Marries Social Justice and Sustainable Growth
with Intellectual Property Law.
Geographical Indications Protection
in India : Issues
Policy focus on handicrafts
Identification of Stakeholders and
facilitation for registration
TKDL can be extended to include forms of
Traditional Knowledge other than medicinal
and bio-diversity based TK
Alternatively a separate TKDL for other forms
of TK can be implemented
Access to post-registration business strategy
consulting through State or Central
Government agencies and/or NGOs.
Documentation and research on potential GIs
as a regular feature of academic research.
GI is one of the best form of
protection for tangible Traditional
Knowledge with a traceable
geographic origin. It is a tool for
development that is rooted in
tradition yet is modern in its