Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reliance withdraws GI tag applications for Jamnagar and KG Gas [India]

Reliance Industries Ltd, the nation's most valued company, has withdrawn applications to register the terms, 'Jamnagar' and 'Krishna Godavari', as geographical indication (GI) tags for its petro products. The Mukesh Ambani-led RIL had sought the GI tag for five products, four with a prefix of 'Jamnagar' and one for Krishna Godavari Gas.
The company has now 'withdrawn' its applications for four products, including Jamnagar Petrol, Jamnagar Fuel, Jamnagar LPG and Jamnagar Diesel, while request for the registration ofKrishra Godavari Gas has been 'abandoned', a senior official from Chennai-based Geographical Indication Registry told PTI. RIL, however, declined to comment on the issue. The GI is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that region.
A GI status provides legal protection and facilitates for action in case of infringement. Further, it promotes economic prosperity of producers in a particular area. GIs are covered as an element of Intellectual Property Rights. GL Verma, Assistant Registrar of Trade Marks & GI, said the applications of RIL for the term Jamnagar was facing opposition and now the company had withdrawn its applications. RIL has withdrawn its GI applications exactly after four years of filing. The company had filed its applications for these products on September 15, 2005, as per the details with the office of Geographical Indications. Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks also confirmed the withdrawal and abandonment of applications.
Under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, the GI office functions under the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks. RIL had filed applications under class 4 of Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Class 4 of the Act deals with products for industrial oils and greases, lubricants, dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions, fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminants,candles and wicks. The GI status for the products with Jamnagar prefix was sought for the geographical areas of Gujarat, whereas the tag for Krishna Godavari Gas was for Andhra Pradesh. "The decision in this case is a standard practice," Rodney D Ryder, an intellectual property law expert at Delhi-based legal firm Kochhar & Co, said. In past, the GI tag has been awarded to a number of products or goods such as the famous Darjeeling Tea, Madhubani Paintings, Kashmiri Sozani Craft and Thanjavur Painting.

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