The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) on Thursday wrapped up hearing and reserved orders on the appeal by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) against inclusion of Madhya Pradesh in the application of geographical indications (GI) tag for Basmati rice.
The IPAB bench of justice K N Basha, chairman, and Sanjeev Kumar Chaswal, technical member – trademarks, sat through three days, hearing extensively the counsels of Apeda and the Madhya Pradesh government, as well as of New Darpan Social Welfare Society, Madhya Kshetra Basmati Rice Exporters Association and Basmati Growers Association of Patiala, and private companies Daawat Foods, SSA International and Narmada Cereals.
J Sai Deepak, the counsel for the Madhya Pradesh government and for other parties, including Daawat Foods, argued that not adding Madhya Pradesh under the GI for Basmati would have an impact on around 80,000 rice farmers in the region.
He argued that the state’s claim is to include 13 districts/regions in Madhya Pradesh in the GI.
During the hearing, senior advocate P S Raman, who appeared for Apeda, argued that Madhya Pradesh is not a state which is in the Indo-Gangetic plain, (IGP) where the rice has been cultivated traditionally. It also argued that while the state claims that the rice produced there has characteristics of Basmati, the temperature and the day length in the state is different from the traditional Basmati-producing states and thus, it cannot be included under the GI.
While New Darpan Social Welfare Society sought that the board give the relief that Madhya Pradesh has sought, P V Yogeswaran, the counsel appearing for Basmati Growers Association of Patiala, argued that the GI should be given to places where the quality and reputation of Basmati exist. Meanwhile, a dispute raised by the Basmati Growers Association from Pakistan has been kept aside for further hearing later Apeda had filed an appeal at the IPAB against the order of the assistant registrar of the GI registry, issued on December 31, 2013, which allowed the opposition by various parties, including the department of farmer welfare and agriculture development of Madhya Pradesh, and Madhya Kshetra Basmati Growers Association Samiti based in Raisen district, among others, against the Apeda’s application for GI registration.
Apeda’s application for registration of Basmati as GI in Class 30 under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999, was without the inclusion of Madhya Pradesh.
Subsequently, the GI registrar ordered that Apeda should file a revised application incorporating uncovered states including Madhya Pradesh, against which Apeda filed the appeal.