THE FIRST INDIAN GI: DARJEELING TEA


1. Darjeeling Tea[1]

The Darjeeling tea, that has been cultivated, grown and produced by the producers in Darjeeling (Northernmost region of West Bengal) for over one and a half century now, is one of the most desired black teas in the world. It is known for its incomparable quality and distinctive flavor that is largely connected to its geographical region. The product has made the region a hallmark across the globe.

It was the first product to be registered as GI under Geographical Indication Act in October 2004. Adequate legal protection of the tea was necessary as tea from countries like Sri Lanka, Kenya or Nepal were passed away as Darjeeling tree, thereby spoiling the reputation of the tea by providing low quality and hindering the growth of the Darjeeling Tea industry.

The tea industry under the Tea Act, 2003 made it mandatory for all the producers to obtain certification as a permission to export Darjeeling tea. They are required to provide all the information regarding production, manufacturing and sale to the tea board. This ensures supply of high quality products by genuine producers.

‘Darjeeling logo’ and the word ‘Darjeeling’ has been registered by the tea board as Certification Trademarks, which can only be used by the producers under a license agreement. Producers need to submit a sample of tea to the tea board for their approval and they have the right to inspect the producers at any time to ensure the rules of the tea board are complied with.

Due to the initiatives and extreme efforts taken by the Tea board, the Darjeeling Tea is world famous today and enjoys untarnished reputation. It’s quality is very well maintained by Tea board ensuring growth of income and reputation of the industry.

[1] Dr. Sudhir Ravindran & Ms. Arya Mathew, The Protection on Geographical Indication in India- Case Study on ‘Darjeling Tea’, IPR Index, 2009, 57, 60-61.

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