‘Geographical Indication’ refers to a sign which is used on products possessing some qualities, characteristics,…
The Kolhapuri Chappal, which is a popular ethnic wear, has been finally granted the GI tagafter a decade long wait. The tag was granted by the controller general of patents, designs and trademarks to the Chappal which is manufactured vastly in the districts of Maharashtra (Solapur, Sangli, Satara, & Kolhapur) and Karnataka (Bijapur, Bagalkot, Dharwad & Belgaum) and is now registered under Class 25 as a Handicraft. The GI is granted jointly to the districts of both the states. Although, there was a perception about the footwear that the artisans of Kohapuri Chappal belong exclusively to Maharashtra but many of them belong to Karnataka and are engaged in the skill since centuries. The GI enables the recognition of the ethic footwear at national as well international levels.The news came out only recently when the certificate was issued for the GI.
The Kolhapuri Chappal is unique to the areas of Maharashtra & Karnataka and the application for registration of the Chappal as a GI was filed by the Central Leather Research Institute on 4th April, 2009 while the Certificate was granted after about 10 years on 11th December, 2018. The GI is valid upto 3rd May, 2029.
How is it Unique?
The footwear is handcrafted. Vegetable dyes are used in tanning them and the art as well as the skill required for making the Chappals are passed on from one generation to another.
The footwear finds its roots in the 12th Century Bidar, which is in Karnataka and was ruled by King Bijjal. Vishwaguru Basavanna, the King’s PM missioned a casteless society aiming to remove various stigmas that were attached to the community of cobblers. In view of the same, Lingayat faith was embraced by the Cobblers who developed their skills to manufacture footwear which became famous for its regal bearing and ruggedness.
The footwear came to be known as a brand only when the 20th century began and it witnessed trade of the footwear in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. Its production was further fostered by Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj when he ruled Kolhapur.
Significance of the GI tag:
The GI tag would provide recognition to the footwear at national as well as international levels. It would further help the artisan’s tie-up and collaborate with various business entities including e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart. It is also expected to make way for large markets at international as well as domestic levels who are involved in producing Kolhapuri Chappals in the districts aforementioned. The Footwear can now only be produced in the districts for which the GI has been granted and any manufacture outside them would result in the GI infringement.
Author: Maahi Mayuri, BBA LLB, New Law College, Pune, Intern at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at Niharika Sanadhya