Indian basmati fails to bag GI status
Bangalore: An Indian entity’s four-year-old bid to patent basmati rice by securing the so-called geographical indication (GI) status for the aromatic grain has failed, making the premium variety vulnerable to unauthorized use of its name and patent claims elsewhere.
A seven-member consultative group headed by V. Ravi, the controller general of patents, design and trade marks, recently rejected an application for GI status for the rice variety filed by Karnal, Haryana-based Heritage Foundation in August 2004, citing flaws and lack of relevant data, said an official at the Union ministry of commerce and industry.
A GI is a product name associated with a certain region, and cannot be used by similar products from other regions. Champagne is one example of a GI.
The controller general of patents, design and trade marks is part of the ministry of commerce and industry and the issuing authority for GIs, which enjoy protection under the norms of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Heritage Foundation is a trust mainly composed of rice millers and exporters.
Basmati, a slender, long-grained and fragrant variety of rice, is grown in Punjab and Haryana.
The GI status would identify it globally as unique for qualities exclusively attributed to the place of its origin and confer legal protection against unauthorized use of the name by other rice producers.