Champagne, Puma, Darjeeling Tea and Ford are known all over the world. A common man would recognize the given names as famous brands. On looking closely it can be realized that the above mentioned names do not belong to the same category.
The year 2014 has witnessed a lot of goods entering the family of Geographical Indicators ( GI ). Goods such as Madurai Malli (jasmine), Pattamadai Pai (Pattamadai mat), Nachiarkoil Kuthuvilakku (Nachiarkoil lamp), Toda Embroidery, Thanjavur Veena and Chettinad Kottan (palmyra basketry) have all become a part of the GI family thus bringing Tamil Nadu with the second highest number of registered GIs in the country; A total of 24.
The Tea Board of India holds the famous GI “Darjeeling” and the logo of a woman holding tea leaves, as well as the certification trade mark “Darjeeling” under the Trade Marks Act, in connection with “tea”.
ITC, Limited used “Darjeeling Lounge” as the name for its executive lounge at its Kolkata hotel, the ITC Sonar.
The Tea Board had previously filed a suit against ITC for using the word Darjeeling for their lounge. The suit mainly revolved on issues of infringement of the GI and the certification TMs, as well as for passing off and dilution.
The matter was rejected by the one judge bench, due to which an appeal was made before the Division bench of the Kolkata high court.
A long journey from the hills of Darjeeling via Benaras, Lucknow, Madhya Pradesh, Tirupati and finally to Kanchipuram would be stressful indeed. But the goodies from all these places are what make us show off that we actually went there. Imagine having a hot cup of Darjeeling tea, or wearing Benarasi sari, or eating Tirupati laddu, or having a beautiful Tanjore painting on your wall. All these sure do sound nice. What if I told you that I grew the Darjeeling tea plant in my backyard, or painted a picture and called it Tanjore painting, or worse, made laddus and branded it as Tirupati laddu?
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