Madan Diwan, coordinator of the World Agricultural Forum India (WAFI), has urged India to develop its own registration mechanism to protect its varieties of basmati rice.

Diwan argues that the granting of a “varietal patent” to the Texas-based RiceTec company by the United States Patent Office (USPO) should be seen as a “wake up call” for India to cultivate, protect and sell its own varieties of the rice.

RiceTec was granted the patent on 14 August to sell its three varieties of Basmati rice, but it has no rights to bar any other rice manufacturer from using the “Basmati” name.

“There is no need to be scared of the patent being given to RiceTec company as it’s a routine ruling by US Patent Office,” Diwan told the PTI.

“Giving a varietal patent to a company does not prevent any other body from cultivating basmati rice because no trademark, brand and exclusive marketing rights have been provided.”