25 February 1998
India to challenge basmati rice patent
INDIA is planning to fight the United States decision to grant a patent
to RiceTec of Texas to use the name “basmati” on its rice.
India is confident that it can prove the term refers to a typically Indian variety of rice and the USA will have to revise the patent.
M S Swaminathan, a leading Indian agricultural scientist, fears the
patent could badly hit basmati rice exports from the Indian sub-continent,
particularly to the European Union.
The US patent office said RiceTec got the patent for a cultivar of basmati
rice because it had earlier patented strains of corn or other new mutations of
The Indian Government is considering whether to ask for a review from the US
patent office or to complain to the World Trade Organisation.
RiceTec believes basmati is a generic name for a type of rice, as durum is
for a kind of wheat.
- Financial Times 25/02/98 page 35