BASMATI CASE STUDY In late 1997, an American company RiceTec Inc, was granted a patent by the US patent office to call the aromatic rice grown outside India Basmati. RiceTec Inc, had been trying to enter the international Basmati market with brands like Kasmati and Texmati described as Basmati-type rice with minimal success. 3
BASMATI CASE STUDY However, with the Basmati patent rights, RiceTec will now be able to not only call its aromatic rice Basmati within the US, but also label it Basmati for its exports.) India and Pakistan will not only lose out on the 45,000 tonne US import market, which forms 10 percent of the total Basmati exports. 4
BASMATI CASE STUDY In addition, the patent on Basmati is believed to be a violation of the fundamental fact that the long grain aromatic rice grown only in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh is called Basmati.." 5
BASMATI CASE STUDY Basmati rice means the "queen of fragrance or the perfumed one." Grown in the foothills of the Himalayas for thousands of years. Perfumy, nut-like flavor and aroma. A long-grained rice with a fine texture Costliest rice in the world. Favored by emperors and praised by poets for hundreds of years. India is the second largest producer of rice after China, and grows over a tenth of the worlds wheat. 6
BASMATI CASE STUDY In the abstract, "the invention relates to novel rice lines and to plants and grains of these lines . . . . . Specifically, one aspect of the invention relates to novel rice lines whose plants are semi-dwarf in stature, substantially photoperiod insensitive and high yielding, and produce rice grains having characteristics similar or superior to those of good quality Basmati rice. Another aspect of the invention relates to novel rice lines produced from novel rice lines . . . . " 7
BASMATI CASE STUDY According to Dr Vandana Shiva, director of a Delhi- based research foundation which monitors issues involving patents and biopiracy, Moreover, she claims the "theft involved in the Basmati patent is, therefore, threefold: - a theft of collective intellectual and biodiversity heritage on Indian farmers, - a theft from Indian traders and exporters whose markets are being stolen by RiceTec Inc., and , - a deception of consumers since RiceTec is using a stolen name Basmati for rice which is derived from Indian rice but not grown in India, and hence not the same quality." 8
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