In the present times, most products and services we use are protected by Intellectual Property Rights (hereinafter referred to as “IPR”). It is useful to us in a holistic way. IPR encourages people to turn ideas into practical products or services, boosting both the economy and the quality of life.
The tourism business has grown steadily in the service sector, as the World Trade Organization (hereinafter referred to as “WTO”) has identified it as a significant contributor to trade and development. Tourism has become a crucial role in global business, as well as a substantial source of wealth for many developing countries.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND TOURISM
IPR has a positive impact on all the facets of our life in the modern world. It honors inventors for developing technologies that preserve and improve our world. IP is one of the main forces in shaping our world today. It makes sure updated, top-notch inventions are consistently developed across society, improving our lives, and boosting our economies.
As far as the tourism industry is considered the different kinds of IPR may be useful for the following reasons:
- To create a distinctive market identity,
- To safeguard competitive benefit,
- To promote national culture and heritage, or
- To add an income source.
GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION AND TOURISM SECTOR
Geographic Indications (hereinafter referred to as “GI”) connects and links certain things to a particular place, essentially attributing the status, quality, or other characteristics of the product to that place. Agricultural, manufactured, natural, and industrial items all have geographic markers attached to them. The use of a GI is open to companies that produce goods with a specific set of traits in the designated geographic area.
Producers from industrialized countries who trade internationally have already embraced a number of voluntary norms. They have developed and upheld the standards that educate customers about certain product’s features and manufacturing processes. Standards for GI are linked to ingrained or traditional regional practices. GI are also governed by national laws and are subject to government regulations, in contrast to voluntary norms.
ROLE IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY
IPR are similar to claims made legally by the owners of patents, trademarks, or works protected by copyright. These rights are outlined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as “UDHR”). IP owners are willing to earn more and more profit from their original creation. As countries are prepared to expand trade and business in order to enhance their Gross Domestic Product, IPRs are becoming more significant and driving both local and worldwide trade.
Since it has been emphasized by the WTO as a significant contributor to Trade and Development, the tourism industry has steadily expanded in the service sector. According to WTO the tourism has grown to be an important aspect of international trade and is a significant source of income for many developing countries.
There are many different applications for IP system components in the travel and tourism sector. In general, building and using brands is extremely important for the service industry, and hence for the travel and tourism sector. Building and utilizing a brand requires the use of trademarks, GI, certified marks, collective markings, or a sui generis system, as well as other IPRs including patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. The tourism business greatly benefits from any IP legal rights that grant an exclusive right of use and the capacity to prevent unauthorized third parties from making money off of that right.
The laws have changed from what they once were. In a world of fierce competition, the knowledge-based economy rewards companies who can differentiate their products and add value via intangible assets. The IP system can be used to protect, preserve, earn money from, and enforce intangible assets.
POTENTIAL OF GI TO BE INDIA’S GROWTH ENGINE
All of the IP regime’s various mechanisms that provide an exclusive claim of use and prevent unauthorized third parties from profiting from that right are particularly beneficial to the tourism industry.
Travel locations are increasingly being branded, in addition to consumer goods and services. This is frequently known as “destination branding”. A trademark, whether it be a registered logo or a slogan, is fundamental to “destination branding.” As previously stated, branding is more than simply a trademarked logo or slogan; it is the basis of any business. For trademark purposes, creating a sophisticated logo or a catchy tagline is also insufficient. Ideally, they should be registered both nationally and internationally.
The Incredible India Campaign
‘Incredible India’ began in 2002 as a Government promotional campaign to attract tourists and project India as a reliable tourist attraction.
The ‘Incredible India’ brand is registered under the Trade Marks Act of 1999 (hereinafter referred to as “Trademarks Act”). The campaign highlighted several facets of Indian culture and history, including yoga, spirituality, festivals, and monuments such as the Taj Mahal.
The idea was a success, with tourism activity increasing by 16% in its first year. Foreign visitor arrivals in India surged from 2.38 million in 2002 to 7.7 million in 2014.
Not just the Central Government, but also some of the country’s State Governments, have taken initiatives to promote their individual states as tourist destinations with such trademarks or slogans.
For example, Amitabh Bachchan’s campaign with the phrase ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ has increased tourism in Gujarat state. Subsequently, several states have registered their tourism specific slogans as trademark under the Trademarks Act. Such slogans have increased the respective state’s tourist attraction to a great extent.
GI AND TOURISM: INTERNATIONAL SCENARIO
- The European Union (hereinafter referred to as “EU”) included GIs into international trade agreements during the Uruguay Round trade discussions. The EU has been a vocal supporter of GI legislation that is getting stronger, and currently, consultations are being held to make EU GI laws even stronger.
- The Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz was among the first to register the term “St Moritz” as well as the slogan “Top of the World,” not only in Switzerland but also with the Trademark Office of European Community, Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market.
- The trademark of New York City has effectively captured the hearts and minds of thousands of people who see New York through this symbol as a vibrant, and dynamic city with something for everyone.
- Tri-valley California trademark is owned by the Tri-Valley Visitor and Convention Bureau portraying the area of three neighboring valleys – Amador, Livermore, and San Ramon and is made up of five communities.
- Malaysia’s impressive symbol the ‘Malaysia-Truly Asia’ commercial, which conveys and describes the country’s unique diversity, has gained enormous popularity. It encapsulates Malaysia’s uniqueness and allure, which make it an exceptional tourist destination.
- The Australian Government owns this registered trademark and permits external parties to use it on Australian goods and services following the legal criteria, which are particularly accompanied by the “TM: Trade Mark of Tourism Australia.”
The tourism sector is expanding and can be counted on to create jobs, launch new businesses, and increase state revenue, while the creative industry is also advancing swiftly at the moment. The tourism sector, along with leading products and creative industries based on GIs, are national assets that are constantly renewable as a result of changes and advancements in human civilization, making it necessary to obtain protection through IPR registration.
The national tourism plan and tourism strategy must integrate IP approaches for local and regional tourist destinations. Major players in the organization of sports and mega-events include sports associations, event organizers, donors, sponsors, and television and media firms. To maximize the advantages of these events for the development of tourism, all of these participants must be aware of the significance of creating and putting into action good IP plans.
– Team AMLEGALS assisted by Ms. Shreya Chauhan (Intern)
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