Super Basmati trademark

What is the Super Basmati Conflict in the European Court?

By Ankar Kapuria Published On 23 Oct 2021 Updated On 28 Oct 2021 Category Trademark

Basmati rice has been one of the best grade rice available in India and is hugely exported to various other countries. It is mainly grown in the region of J & K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh. In the market for basmati rice, India has emerged as the leading exporter of the Basmati Rice in the global market. Thus the need for Trademark has been of immense concern and need to be looked into.

What is Basmati Rice?

Basmati is a long grain aromatic rice that is mainly grown in India, Pakistan and Nepal. India is the major exporter of Basmati rice to the global market with almost 70 percent of the market share. There are certain guidelines that dictate the definition of the term basmati rice, according to the government dta i the orrecooked light of a grain in less than 6.61 mm then it's not a basmati. For a rice mill to be basmati it has to be more than 6.61 mm in length and have a breadth of 2 mm in precooked condition.

What is the Court ruling about?

THe court case was regarding the quality and the origin of the basmati rice in question. It has been brought in court to claim that the trademark was obtained way before the Indian Government gave it the GI rights (Geographical Rights). The pakistan trade has claimed to have upheaval the geographical Indication right in the case. But the question that arises is that of the quality of rice and if at all it can be called a basmati rice.

How does India fit into the case?

India being the major export of the basmati rice has strict policies regarding the qualification of the basmati rice. Under the policy the length and width is clearly mentioned in regards to the product being a basmati rice. And the question raised in the court brings the quality under the question which has clearly been refuted. The case has been raised by the UK-based Indo European Food Ltd. Which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of India’s Private Limited Company, Kohinoor Foods Ltd.

 It plays an important role in the markets for selling Basmati rice under three brands. Indo-European Food Ltd has claimed that the goodwill of the name basmati has been tampered. It claims that the rice sold is not basmati and has resulted in the ruining of goodwill of the basmati brand that has persisted in the European market for some time. Thus showing that there is an urgent need for the brand registrations to be done in India to protect the product.

How has the case been resolved?

The case has had its own ups and down in the proclamation for the rights over basmati rice. The court has dismissed the case on the basis of not having enough evidence on the ground of having suffered because of the sale of unregistered basmati rice. But based on the Indian law there are claims that can challenge any registered or a non-registered trademarked product after 2017.

Conclusion

Though Basmati is a trademarked in terms of the aromatic rice there are a lot of things that do bnt fall under the control of the companies. In such cases there are efforts that need to be taken to get the exclusive right over a product which is what India  is doing in the case of Basmati Rice. Though Pakistan wants to try to prevent it, the GI issue is itself out of sorts in their internal policies. Thus it gives India a superior hand in the matter.


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