Biodiversity And Geographical Indication


What is biodiversity?

The first thing which comes into our mind by listening to this term is the green forest, beautiful flowers, sounds of the bird's chirp, etc. How we all used to enjoy and always wish to return it again and again. But now the time has come to protect this biodiversity from getting destroyed.

Biodiversity is the variety of species among the living organisms from all ecosystems which includes marine, terrestrial and aquatic animals living inside water. India is a hub of biodiversity exactly there are 18 major hotspots in India which is rich in biodiversity. These hotspots are the Western Ghats, Eastern (Himalayas) which covers a very dense forest with incredible biodiversity. There are many mangroves forest in India which is rich in biodiversity they are Sunderbans delta – it is the largest forest in the world located in Ganges rivers. Usually, the mangroves forest includes the brackish water. These are very rich in biodiversity with a specified way because many of the migratory birds used to travel from other countries to India in order to get shelter in the wetland. The Chillika lake is the best example of the wetland because it is a very beautiful lake rich in biodiversity used to provide shelter to many migratory birds. Now we have got some overall idea about biodiversity and how it needs to get protected due to its rich culture.

Now the question that comes to mind is how this biodiversity is being protected through our Geographical Indication.

Geographical Indication

A geographical indication is known as GI it is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics, or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the place of production and product.[1]

According to the context mentioned in (Wadhera, 2017), Geographical Indication means any agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods or any goods of handcrafted or goods of the industry including the foodstuffs, there is no specific law governing geographical indications of such goods, which could adequately protect the interest of producers of such goods. To prevent unauthorized persons from misusing geographical indications would protect consumers from deception and would add to the economic prosperity of the producers of such goods and would also promote goods bearing Indian geographical indications in the export market.

In order to maintain the originality of a product of a particular place, it is very essential for registration of geographical indication of that particular product like the Pashmina Silk of Kashmir, Agra “Petha”, “Patachitra” of Odisha, etc. The protection of Geographical Indications has over the years, emerged as one of the most contentious intellectual property rights issues at the global level assumes enormous significance for a country like India.  Which has in its possession a number of world-renowned Geographical Indications e.g. Darjeeling Tea, Alphonso, etc. Geographical Indications generally refer to any Indications that identify a good as originating from a particular place, where a given quality reputation or other characteristics of the good are essentially attributable to its Geographical origin (S., 2014).

Objectives Of Geographical Indication

  • Identification of the origin/differentiation in the marketplace[2]
  • Protection of the reputation
  • Ensure quality and particularities of the product and methods of production
  • Consumer protection

Relationship between Geographical Indication and Biodiversity

Basically the Geographical Indication has a very valid relationship between Biodiversity because of taking for example champagne which is used to indicate a special kind of sparkling wine which originates in the brandy from the French region around the town of cognac. As Cognac is full of biodiversity and it is a place where wine can be grown so it is a plateau where certain things can be grown so that it can indicate its biodiversity with GI.  India has taken the lead in protecting its origin-based products and associated traditional knowledge (TK) through the promotion of GIs, with a sui generis protection system that is regarded as a model for other countries. Conflicts over spotlight products such as Basmati rice and Darjeeling tea have created nationwide awareness and, in accordance with the WTO agreement on TRIPS, India passed the Geographical Indication of Goods Act in 1999, which entered into force in 200. [3] I want to give an example related to Kodagu District in Karnataka state is a major coffee-growing region located in the Western Ghats mountains. It produces nearly one-third of Indian coffee, mostly in agroforestry systems under native tree cover. The district came under British rule was Coorg, and it is under this name that the product we discuss here is known today. We refer to Kodagu when speaking of the district and to Coorg orange when we discuss the product. Forest represents almost 50% of the district. Central Kodagu is dominated by agricultural land, essentially coffee estates that cover 30% of the total area of the district. Coffee in Kodagu is grown under tree shade. The other crops associated with coffee are pepper, cardamom, oranges, and rice in paddy fields. Altogether, forests and agroforests account for nearly 80% of the district. This is the best example of Biodiversity in relation to Geographical Indication.

The opportunities and threats of Geographical Indications regarding biodiversity

Even if the first purpose of GIs was not to protect biodiversity but the reputation of a  product, specific local biological or genetic resources, high degrees of biodiversity, provision of ecosystem, specific landscape functions, or good agricultural practices can be a major factor for explaining such reputation. [4]

Schematic assessment of the contributions of specific GIs to the conservation of biodiversity is at two levels: first, genetic and biological resources, and second landscapes and ecosystems.

GIs will protect biodiversity in the sense that a  particular variety or ecosystem, distinct from neighboring ones will be maintained. For example, GI product’s specificity can be closely linked to the use of unique and locally-adapted genetic resources,  and its governance includes the sustainable management of local landraces or breeds.

Author: Ms. Aishwarya Pattnaik, Legal Intern at Global Patent Filing. In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at

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