IPAB lets MP body to implead in Basmati rice GI tag tussle

By: |
Chennai | Published: February 26, 2015 12:09:03 AM

Allows Pakistan’s Basmati Growers’ Association to appeal against granting of GI tag.

The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has allowed a Madhya Pradesh farmers’ body, New Darpan Social Welfare Society, to implead itself in the legal proceedings over geographical indication (GI) tag for Basmati rice grown in the country.

The patent, trademark and GI tribunal also allowed Pakistan’s Basmati Growers’ Association (BGA) appeal that has opposed the granting of GI tag for Basmati rice.

After the Madhya Pradesh government’s intervention seeking inclusion of some areas of the state, the registrar of GI had asked Apeda to amend the application of GI tag. BGA’s appeal was among the slew of opposition before the IPAB after Apeda approached the tribunal opposing the proceeding arising out of the order of registrar of GI.

The IPAB bench said: “The proposed-respondent is a just and necessary party to the proceedings as it is a welfare organisation fighting for the cause of farmers in Madhya Pradesh. Hence, we are allowing the petition of the organisation to get impleaded in the proceedings.”

The Apeda counsel, opposing the move of the organisation, argued there were no provisions in the statute and IPAB procedural rules for any third party to intervene in the proceedings.

The litigation over GI tag for Basmati was triggered when the tag was conferred on Basmati rice on an application filed in 2009 by the Apeda reserving it for certain varieties grown in Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The Madhya Pradesh government had objected to the omission of the state from the geographical area and filed a petition before the GI registry, challenging the order of the registrar.

The Madhya Pradesh government had told the assistant registrar of the GI Registry that non-inclusion of the state in the Basmati-growing areas would have an adverse effect on the lives of farmers who mainly depend on Basmati cultivation and exports. Accordingly, GI Registry, told Apeda to amend its application for GI registration of Basmati rice to include the uncovered areas of Madhya Pradesh.

Against this, Apeda approached IPAB with an appeal against the order of assistant registrar of the GI Registry, issued on December 31, 2013, which allowed opposition by various parties, including the department of farmer welfare and agriculture development of MP, Madhya Kshetra Basmati Growers’ Association Samiti based in Raisen district among others against the application of Apeda. To worsen the things, Lahore-based Basmati Growers’ Association (BGA) also moved IPAB against the order of the assistant registrar of GI Registry that ordered inclusion of Madhya Pradesh in the amended application by Apeda. BGA had also opposed granting of GI tag to Indian Basmati rice in totality.

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