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Jordan: TMO Sets Precedent for the Protection of Geographic Indicators

December 1, 2014

The Jordanian Trademark Office, in an unprecedented move, ruled for the protection of BASMATI, a famous geographical indicator for rice originating from the Indian subcontinent. Various rice plants are grown in India and Pakistan under the Basmati name. PUSA BASMATI 1121, a well-known variety grown in India, is popularly referred to as “1121.”

A Jordanian manufacturer applied for the registration of “1121” as a trademark for coffee, tea, sugar and rice among other goods. Upon publication of the mark in the official gazette, the Indian Ministry of Commerce filed for an opposition on the basis that the mark in question evoked a connection to Basmati rice and led to unfair competition and consumer deception.

The Jordanian TMO found that the registration of the trademark “1121” in class 30 for rice would create a false impression that products bearing the said mark originate from the region where Basmati rice is being grown. The Jordanian TMO’s verdict ruled to remove rice from the list of goods as a condition to allow the registration of the mark “1121.”

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