Registration of Thanjavur Art Plate under the Geographical Indications (GI) Act 1999 of Government of India, has given the necessary legal protection to the art plate from counterfeit products, said S. Ramamoorthy, Regional Director, Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Union ministry of Textiles, Chennai here on Monday.

Speaking at a workshop organised for Thanjavur Art Plate producers to sensitise them for registering them as Authorised Users under GI Act, Mr. Ramamoorthy said that GI registration has not only conferred the legal protection to the product but also helped to enlarge the market besides giving economic benefits to the producer. Thus the producers can go for legal action against the duplicate products and its manufacturers.

Thanjavur Art Plates are exquisite products of the artisans of Thanjavur. They occupied a pride of place among the show pieces adorning elegantly furnished houses. The art of engraving and embossing beautiful figures and images of different sizes on brass or copper plates is the unique merit of the craft. The Thanjavur Art plates are classic unique crafts and enjoy the patronage from the connoisseurs of art all over the world. There are 200 artisans engaged in the production of Thanjavur Art Plate in Thanjavur.

"By realising the importance of this craft, the Development Commissioner (handicrafts) under the Union Ministry of Textiles has registered the product under GI Act. GI Act which is a part of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Properties (TRIPS) agreement is an important instrument for protecting the originality of the traditional products, Ramamoorthy said.

P. Sanjai Gandhi, Advocate and Intellectual Property (Attorney) said that Thanjavur Art Plate introduced by Maratta King Raja Serfoji two was the original one. Deviation from this originality will deprive the product the name Thanjavur Art Plate. The Development Commissioner (handicrafts) who is now the registered proprietor of the Thanjavur Art Plate wants the producer groups of this craft to register as Authorised Users under the GI Act. This will give a logo to these users which can be imprinted on the product and this will prove that it is a orginal product. Authorised User logo will give individual legal rights. This will boost exports and tell to the outside world that they are the genjuine art plate producers.

Thanjavur Veena, Kancheepuram silk saris, Bavani Jamakkalam (carpets) Madurai Sungadi selai, Kovai Kora Cotton, Arni silk, Salem silk, Tangalia craft, Eethamozhi Tall Coconut and Thanjavur dancing doll are some of the products which have been registered under GI Act, Gandhi said.

D. Srikanta Sathapathi, State Member, Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Workers Welfare Board, said that a similar workshop was held at Swamimalai recently for sensitising icon producers to register them as Authorised Users under the GI ACT. The act helps in maintaining originality and gives legal protection.

S.Krishna Kumar of Textiles Committee spoke on General Issues of GI Act.