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Patent issue: Pak for legal action against India

Pakistan plans to take legal action against India over a dispute on patenting of Super Basmati rice.

world Updated: Jul 03, 2007 21:23 IST

Pakistan plans to take legal action against India over a dispute on patenting of Super Basmati rice, a media report in Islamabad said on Tuesday.

Pakistan accuses India of "deceiving" it by patenting the variety of Basmati rice on the basis of Geographical Indicator (GI) and intends to file a case in the Supreme Court of India.

"Trading Corporation of Pakistan & Rice Export Association of Pakistan will now represent the petitioners in India," the 'Observer' newspaper said quoting officials.

Leaders of the rice exporters associations of both the countries would meet in New Delhi on July 18 to discuss the prospects of joint registration and a joint export strategy of it.

"I have been invited by Vijay Setia, President of India Rice Exporters Association, for talks in New Delhi on July 18," Rahim Janoo a prominent rice exporter and former Chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, (REAP) told PTI.

Fazal Abbas Mekan, Trade Minister at the Pakistan's High Commission in New Delhi has been authorised on their behalf to proceed with the case, the newspaper said.

"It is the total failure of Pakistan's trade and economic managers that New Delhi managed to deceive Islamabad by getting Super Basmati registered based on geographically Indication (GI)," the unnamed official told the newspaper.

"Although it is crystal clear that if kept in view Geographical Indication, the Super Basmati rice is the product of Pakistan," it said.

Commenting on the report, senior diplomat in Indian High Commission here Pankaj Tripathi said India made several attempts to rope in Pakistan to finalise a joint strategy to register Basmati but Islamabad has not shown much interest.

Tripathi, who is in-charge of economic and commerce, said the idea for talks on Basmati registration was mooted by India during Commerce Secretary level talks in 2006 and later New Delhi followed it up with a suggestion to form a joint working group to pursue the issue.

Subsequently, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath too has taken it up with his Pakistan counterpart Humayun Akhtar but nothing came off. "Several attempts have been made to discuss the issue with Pakistan but nothing came off it," he told PTI.

Janoo, who is based in Karachi, said REAP wants to play a role to resolve the difference between the two countries over Super Basmati registration based on GI.

"We will try to come to an understanding. We want both the countries to join to prevent third countries from claiming patent on Basmati. It is our common heritage and we should look for a joint strategy to market it in the world," he said.

Asked whether REAP's stand on would be backed by Pakistan government, he said his association carried the prestige and influence because of its standing. "We will try to convince our government failing which we have to follow the directives," he said.

Few months ago, reports in Pakistan media said Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) government has been authorised to file a petition in Chennai court contesting Indian claim to register Peshmina shawls under GI but nothing came off it so far.

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