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May 2024

India – Pakistan Basmati rice IP dispute: Delhi High Court closes Pakistani lawsuit for non-prosecution

Three Pakistani entities had approached the High Court in 2008 stating that it already has ‘Super Basmati’ rice and India exporting under the same name will amount to passing off.

The Delhi High Court recently dismissed a 15-year-old suit filed by three Pakistani entities (plaintiffs) against the export of ‘Super Basmati’ rice by India [Trading Corporation of Pakistan Private Limited v Government of India Ministry of Commerce & Industry]

Justice Prathiba M Singh noted that there had been no appearance in the case since 2020 on behalf of the plaintiffs and the suit had not been prosecuted effectively since then.

“Considering the Defendant’s stand recorded as above, no further orders are called for in the present suit. The suit is, accordingly, dismissed for non-prosecution. All pending applications are also disposed of,” the Court ordered.

Trading Corporation of Pakistan, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan and Basmati Growers Association had filed a suit in the High Court in 2008 seeking injunction and direction to the Indian government not to give effect to a notification dated 24 May, 2006 approving Super Basmati as an evolved Basmati Rice under the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963 and allowing its export.

The plaintiffs said that it already has a ‘Super Basmati’ brand and India’s use of the name will constitute passing off and dilute its trans-border reputation, label, quality, variety and classification of evolved Basmati rice.

They sought to restrain the Indian authorities from permitting exports of evolved Basmati rice or any rice from India under the name/ variety/ classification/ trade name ‘Super Basmati’.

In an order pronounced on November 28, the High Court noted that the Basmati was registered as a geographical indication (GI) under the provisions of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 in India.

The Court further recorded that as per a notification dated September 18, 2017 issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, the seed production of all varieties of Basmati rice notified under Section 5 of the Seeds Act of 1966 is restricted to the GI registered rice growing areas of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, parts of UP and state of Jammu & Kashmir.

It finally dismissed the suit for non-prosecution.

Advocates Akshay Amritanshu, Rajendra Kumar, Jitin George, Ashutosh Jain and Anjali Kumari appeared for the Government of India.

None appeared for the plaintiff’s. QR Code

Published Date: December 1, 2023

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