Pakistan has finally notified the Geographical Indication (GI) Rules strengthening its case against India over safeguarding its claims of basmati rice and Himalayan pink salt.
The rules, prerequisite for any GI claims, will allow Pakistan to fight India in the European Union as the latter asserts that basmati rice is an Indian product. Meanwhile, Pakistan has already challenged India’s claims over the rice.
“Now as the GI Rules have been notified, Pakistan will be able to secure its export markets with legal backing,” a senior official of the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) told Dawn.
The formulation of GI rules have been pending in the county for almost 18 years, but the move picked pace after India submitted an application with the EU, claiming sole ownership of basmati rice.
Though the Indian claim was challenged in December 2020, there was a serious lacuna in the Pakistan argument, as the country did not have GI protection of Basmati rice inside its boundary due to its failure to notify GI rules.
“The international laws call for local protection of the product before filing for international protection of any product, but that could not be achieved because there were no rules to register basmati rice in Pakistan,” the official added.
After the formulation of the rules, the Commerce Division will now establish a GI Registry under the management and control of IPO Pakistan.
Apart from the registration of domestic products, the rules also define laws about registering foreign GI. As per the rule, a GI of a foreign country shall be registered in Pakistan as long as it is registered in accordance with the local legislation in its country of origin. The registry shall not allow the registration of a foreign GI which is not or has ceased to be protected in its country of origin or which has fallen into disuse in that country.
The rules also state that the application for registration of foreign GI will be made at the registry by its legal representative in the country and during the registration procedure, the registry may require the applicant or its legal representative to submit any information related to registration in the country of origin which may affect its registration in Pakistan.