No registration for rice variant geographical indication

01-02-2011

Lim Eng Leong

The landmark class action taken by APEDA and others against Malaysian company/rice giant Syarikat Faiza Sdn Bhd, in relation to the rice variant ‘Ponni’, received a lot of attention.

The landmark class action taken by the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of India (APEDA) and others against Malaysian company/rice giant Syarikat Faiza Sdn Bhd, in relation to the rice variant ‘Ponni’, received a lot of attention, especially since rice is a staple food in Malaysia and in the region.

Ponni rice is a derivative of a cross between the Taichung65 and Myang Ebos 6080/2 varieties. This particular hybrid was developed decades ago by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and is widely cultivated in southern India. It was so named in tribute to the Kaveri Delta region there.

Faiza imported Sona Massoori Ponni rice from India and registered Ponni in June 2000 as a trademark for rice in class 30. Unfortunately for the Indian stakeholders, they did not monitor this mark in Malaysia and it was successfully registered here. Upon registration, Faiza began to send legal notices to other rice importers forbidding them to use Ponni in describing their products.


Ponni rice, trademark registration

WIPR