|Image from here|
Last year, we had done a series of posts on the status of ‘basmati’ and the efforts being taken by the Government to protect it distinctive status under trademark and G.I. law. After learning of the Rs. 7.62 crores that were being spent by APEDA on various world-wide litigations, I had filed a RTI requesting APEDA for details of all such litigation. I had received the information back in September but forgot to publish it on the blog.
It is quite strange how APEDA changes the nature of information supplied when the spotlight is on its legal expenses. Originally, when Sumathi had filed a RTI application asking for details on legal action taken by APEDA to protect ‘basmati’, we were given vague details of how some legal action had been initiated overseas and we were told that 65 pages of such orders would be given to us. On paying the requisite fee, Sumathi was given around eight decisions from seven different countries. However when we asked for an estimate on legal expenses, we were told that there were over 200 pending litigations in 50 jurisdictions worldwide. Why were we initially told of only 8 orders, if there were more than 200 litigations worldwide?
The manner in which APEDA has been dealing with RTI applications has been disgraceful and this reply is just another example of the same.
Scanned copies of various documents we received from APEDA, regarding their worldwide litigation are available below:
(i) List of all litigation in India is available over here;
(ii) List of all litigation worldwide is available over here; &
(iii) Individual orders in the following countries:
1. Australia -- available over here;
2. Portugal -- 6 pages (with translations) - available over here;
3. Chile -- 2 pages - available over here;
4. France -- 16 pages (with translations) - available over here;
5. Morocco -- 9 pages - available over here;
6. Spain -- 7 pages - available over here;
Given the sheer volume of the litigation involving the 'basmati' mark, one wonders why the G.I. Registry has not yet taken a call on the possibility of ‘basmati’ as a G.I.