India to move WTO for GI patenting

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New Delhi, Oct 8 (UNI) India will move TRIPS and World Trade Organisation(WTO) for acquiring Geographical Indications shield for the Basmati cultivated in the country against any bio-piracy and patenting by any other interested multinational company or country.

Earlier, the US government granted a patent for the prized Basmati rice, violating the International Treaty on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Talking to mediapersons, APEDA Chairman K S Money said before moving the international fora, India would have to amend its domestic laws and this would be done soon.

Basmati rice is traditionally grown in India and Pakistan and granting patent to any other company or country violates the Geographical Indications act under the TRIPS.

The TRIPS clause defines Geographical indication as a product originating in the territory of a member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

Basmati rice is as exclusively associated with India and Pakistan as Champagne is to France and Scotch Whiskey is to Scotland.

Officially it was argued that just as the US cannot label their wine as champagne, they should not be able to label their rice Basmati.

India exports 1.2 million tonnes of basmati worth around 250 million US dollars every year. Pakistan's export is rated as half to that of India.

According to some Indian Experts in the field of genetic wealth, India needs to formulate a long-term strategy to protect its bio-resources from future bio-piracy and or theft.

Earlier, India and Pakistan had joined hands to tackle the crisis have a strong case against RiceTec Inc. British traders are also supporting India and Pakistan.

UNI

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