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Registration for muga traders, artisans stressed

By Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, June 24 � In the past eight years, only 16 persons have been able to obtain the authorisation for using the muga Geographical Indication (GI) Registration rights. While four of them are businessmen, 12 of them are artisans, said sources in the Patent Information Centre (PIC) of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC).

The above scene speaks of the general awareness among our artisans and businessmen dealing in muga, the sparkling golden yarn, and its products, on the need to get themselves registered with the GI Registry for securing the right to lawfully deal in muga.

However, PIC sources said there is a redeeming feature against this bleak setting. A total of seven applications for authorised user registration have been �successfully filed with the GI Registry,� by the PIC. These applications are awaiting publication in the GI Journal.

Moreover, the Tezpur University Intellectual Property Rights Cell (TUIPRC) has also �successfully filed� 66 such applications with the GI Registry and these applications are also awaiting publication in the GI Journal. The TUIPRC has been set up by the ASTEC PIC at Tezpur University to render Intellectual Propriety Rights (IPR) services.

The TUIPRC is also processing a total of 28 applications for registration of as many authorised users with the GI Registry. The process is in the final stage, sources said.

Muga obtained its GI registration in 2007 due to the serious efforts of the ASTEC PIC. This was thought to be the beginning of a new era for this enviable golden yarn and its products, with a legal shield providing protection to it from the attempts of the unscrupulous elements, which have harmed Assam�s celebrated silk industry like nothing else.

The GI Manual of the country has stated in its Chapter Eight (08.01), �The concept of authorised user in the Indian GI law system is very unique. �This system ensures the bonafide of a GI product dealt with or produced by a genuine person and further ensures the protection to the consumers.� It further added, �It is imperative that every producer / dealer / manufacturer/ trader/ exporter register as an authorised user for their respective Registered GI for better protection, increase market value and brand promotion of GI.�

Muga products are registered under five classes of The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002 framed under The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 of the country. These classes are � 23 (yarns and threads for textile use), 24 (Textiles and textile goods, not included in other classes; bed and table covers), 25 (Clothing, footwear, headgear), 27 {Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile)}, and 31 (Agricultural, horticultural and forestry products and grains not included in other classes; live animals; fresh fruits and vegetables; seeds, natural plants and flowers; foodstuffs for animals, malt).

According to PIC sources, the State Sericulture Department had claimed in 2005 that 35,000 families were involved in the muga sector of the State.

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Registration for muga traders, artisans stressed

GUWAHATI, June 24 � In the past eight years, only 16 persons have been able to obtain the authorisation for using the muga Geographical Indication (GI) Registration rights. While four of them are businessmen, 12 of them are artisans, said sources in the Patent Information Centre (PIC) of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC).

The above scene speaks of the general awareness among our artisans and businessmen dealing in muga, the sparkling golden yarn, and its products, on the need to get themselves registered with the GI Registry for securing the right to lawfully deal in muga.

However, PIC sources said there is a redeeming feature against this bleak setting. A total of seven applications for authorised user registration have been �successfully filed with the GI Registry,� by the PIC. These applications are awaiting publication in the GI Journal.

Moreover, the Tezpur University Intellectual Property Rights Cell (TUIPRC) has also �successfully filed� 66 such applications with the GI Registry and these applications are also awaiting publication in the GI Journal. The TUIPRC has been set up by the ASTEC PIC at Tezpur University to render Intellectual Propriety Rights (IPR) services.

The TUIPRC is also processing a total of 28 applications for registration of as many authorised users with the GI Registry. The process is in the final stage, sources said.

Muga obtained its GI registration in 2007 due to the serious efforts of the ASTEC PIC. This was thought to be the beginning of a new era for this enviable golden yarn and its products, with a legal shield providing protection to it from the attempts of the unscrupulous elements, which have harmed Assam�s celebrated silk industry like nothing else.

The GI Manual of the country has stated in its Chapter Eight (08.01), �The concept of authorised user in the Indian GI law system is very unique. �This system ensures the bonafide of a GI product dealt with or produced by a genuine person and further ensures the protection to the consumers.� It further added, �It is imperative that every producer / dealer / manufacturer/ trader/ exporter register as an authorised user for their respective Registered GI for better protection, increase market value and brand promotion of GI.�

Muga products are registered under five classes of The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002 framed under The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 of the country. These classes are � 23 (yarns and threads for textile use), 24 (Textiles and textile goods, not included in other classes; bed and table covers), 25 (Clothing, footwear, headgear), 27 {Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile)}, and 31 (Agricultural, horticultural and forestry products and grains not included in other classes; live animals; fresh fruits and vegetables; seeds, natural plants and flowers; foodstuffs for animals, malt).

According to PIC sources, the State Sericulture Department had claimed in 2005 that 35,000 families were involved in the muga sector of the State.