January 2007 News

Pakistan To Counter Indian Claim On Patent Of Kashmiri Shawl

7 January 2007
The Nation

Islamabad: Pakistan is all set to challenge the unfounded Indian claim over the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of pashmina Kashmiri shawl in the international market, traditionally manufactured in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir, TheNation reliably learnt. According to the informed government sources, the issue of countering the Indian claim over the pashmina Kashmiri shawl is under serious consideration and the shawl has been included in Pakistani patent list. However, the legal cover to the patent claim over the said shawl is still under process. The government is trying to get passed the long-awaited Geographical Indication Law (GIL) from the Parliament or enact it through a Presidential Ordinance as soon as possible to enable itself to file a claim over the shawl, they explained. The sources maintained that the GIL draft is at the final stages and there is no more controversy left in the draft as all the concerned ministries seconded it and the Commerce Ministry is pushing for its speedy passage. Earlier the draft was circulated among the stakeholders twice to get consensus and include maximum GI products in the list. The ministries had initially provided a list of 24 items under GIs but much more items were needed to be included. Some of these items are Basmati, Mango from Sindh and Kamalia's Kadhar etc. 'Pakistan is also preparing a new list including pashmina shawl on the top, to expand the existing list of some 24 items,' the sources informed. They mentioned Pakistan could not afford to waste any more time in delaying the GI law because the existing Trademark Ordinance is not sufficient to meet the requirements for claiming IP rights over the GI products under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations. Regarding the controversy over Super Basmati, Pakistan argued that it had registered 'Super Basmati' in 1995 in the official gazette under its Seeds Act 1976 and had begun producing and exporting it as far back as 1985. It said that India had no right to market its own version of the commodity since Pakistan had already registered it as its national trademark. 'Super Basmati' was globally recognized as being of Pakistani origin, it added that the country exported over 800,000 tons of this commodity every year. However, the issue of Basmati is under serious consideration between the trade and commerce officials of both the countries to settle it. As per European Union requirement to accept the Super Basmati, a joint heritage of both Pakistan and India, as it has been naturally produced in both Pakistani and Indian Punjab, it may be recalled. Under the composite trade talks, both Islamabad and New Delhi had agreed constituting of a working group in the starts of previous year to consider joint registration or separate registration in the EU market as per their requirement but no progress has so far been made on the issue.


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