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From plant variety definition to geographical indication protection : A search for the link between basmati rice and India/Pakistan

Marie-Vivien D.. 2008. Journal of World Intellectual Property, 11 (4) : p. 321-344.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-1796.2008.00341.x

Geographical indications (GIs) deal with local issues. Their protection generates an original scheme of governance. GIs were first protected in France and they were later harmonised in the European Union (EU) and then included in the TRIPS Agreement, which was the basis for the enactment of the GI Act in India and GI protection in Pakistan. The Basmati rice example will illustrate the different objectives of GI protection in these two countries and in Europe. Europe is an emerging market for Basmati, and therefore the EU is setting rules of importation based on its tradition of food quality. Such an increase in exports of Basmati raises the issue of a protection that is efficient in the international market, but still is adapted to Indian and Pakistani needs. On the one hand, Basmati has been defined for a long time as the name of plant varieties which now includes evolved varieties. On the other hand, Basmati is still not yet registered as a GI, because the concept of GI is a very recent development in India and Pakistan. The Basmati case raises general issues for GIs protection worldwide: tradition versus modernity, product definition versus method of production and geographical environment.

Mots-clés : riz; produit alimentaire; provenance; variété; identification; réglementation; pakistan; inde; indication géographique

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