Geographical Indication is used to denote the name or sign, of the products which are from a particular geographical area or somewhat related to the origin like town, region or nation. Thus Geographical Indication gives the rights to its holder, and acts as the certification mark and also shows that the specified product consists of the some qualities and good reputation due to its origin from that specific location.

The Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement has defined the ‘geographical indications rights’ as the exclusionary rights for the indicator which identify the goods originated within the member nations territories, or area or region of that territory, where the reputation or other attributes of the goods is essentially related to the geographic origin of the place.

In India the geographical indications are regulated by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 and the Geographical Indication of Goods (Regulation and Protection) Rules, 2002. However registration of GI is not compulsory in India. The owner of the unregistered GI can also enforce the actions with the help of passing off against the infringer. But it is recommendable to register GI as the registration certificate acts as the prima facie (at first sight) evidence in the court at the time of any dispute and no additional evidence is required to proof the validity.

Recent case between R. S. Praveen Raj vs Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams raised the validity of G.I tag for ” Tirupati Laddu “.

R. S. Praveen Raj, a resident of Thiruvananthapuram and a scientist at NIIST (National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology), made a plea against G.I tag of “Tirupati Laddu” under section 2(f) of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 that the laddu does not fit the description of ‘goods’ as it is a sacred offering and not an ‘industrial good’.

Raj had argued that there was no industrial purpose here and granting monopoly to a single producer (Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams or TTD) would defeat the very purpose of GI and would be against Section 11(1) of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999. The applicant also stated that the grant would allow private appropriation of religious symbol and any infringement action against non-Hindu would result in communal disharmony. Thus, it would be violating Section 9(a) and (d). It could also set a precedent for similarly placed entities to claim rights over similar products, which, once granted, could be difficult to revoke.

The petition raises certain issues fundamental to the nature of G.I protection. The petition claims the following contraventions under the G.I Act:

Violation of Section 11(1) read with Rules 32(5) and 32(6)(a)&(f) as GIs are supposed to be collective community rights of protecting a group of producers. In the present case, TTD is the sole producer and beneficiary of the Laddu.

Violation of Sections 9(a) and (d) as the registration it is likely to deceive consumers

[Section 9(a)] and is likely to hurt religious susceptibilities of communities in India [Section 9(d)].

Tirupati Laddu does not fit the description of ‘goods’ defined under Section 2(f) for it being a sacred offering not akin to ‘industrial goods’.

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams also referred as TTD is an independent trust which manages the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh. The trust not only oversees the operations and finances of the richest and the most visited religious center in the world, it is also involved in various social, religious, literary and educational activities within Andhra Pradesh andIndia. TTD received the GI tag for the laddu under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, after failing to curb sale of counterfeit versions by hawkers seeking to exploit the growing demand from visitors to the temple in 2008.

An executive officer of TTD argued that rectification applicant had no locus standi (locus standii means whether the person should be heard in court or not). The officer also made it clear that the rectification applicant was not offended in any way by the registration and he had never objected when the matter was published in the Geographical Indications Journal.He further said that all procedural formalities contemplated under the prescribed act and rules were strictly adhered to and genuineness of the product was verified by the experts.

The Geographical Indications (GI) Registry, Chennai, rejected the plea by Raj for removal of G.I tag against “Tirupati Laddu”. Rectification applicant R. S. Praveen Raj, failed to prove locus standi and interest with the registered good. The court stated that “The rectification application was not contested by the applicant. In such circumstances, the tribunal is empowered with the authority to impose costs.” Raj was directed to pay Rs 10,000 towards cost within one month from the date of the order. Raj told Business Line that the petition was filed in public interest, and regretted that this was not considered by the tribunal.


Geographical indications represent a community thus, they are of immense importance. There have been too many lawsuits which are related to Geographical Indications, this shows the importance of GI. Most of the lawsuits are for cancelation of GI tags because many of the businessman who used to produce or still producing the products tagged as GI have to pay hefty amount to the owners of GI. GI tags are very important for a country as they help a country to rise economically as well as helps to promote it. With the help of GI many people especially communities are benefited thus, GI tags should be registered and severe punishments should be given in case of infringement of GI