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Another Look at Basmati: Genericity and the Problems of a Transborder Geographical Indication



The article uses the case of Basmati to identify a number of problems concerning geographical indications, including the interface with trademarks and the issue of genericity. Attempts to enter and free-ride on Basmati's premium rice market include the use of trademarks and (RiceTec's US) patent. Reviewing these, the article notes the subject matter of geographical indications can be implicated by other forms of intellectual property, such as patents. The case of Basmati is all the more problematic because of its transborder reality for which no provisions exist in the Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The article outlines and discusses various institutional models for a joint registration of Basmati between India and Pakistan as a possible solution for the TRIPS requirement of “home protection” (compare article 24.9).