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Patent for Tirupati Laddu Challenged in Supreme Court

The Chennai-based Geographical Indication Registry under Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks had recently had conferred the tag of Geographical Indication on September 15th, 2009. In simple terms it is a Patent for Tirupati Laddu and the Laddu can be produced only by the Tirupati Tirumala Temple Administration – TTDs. The tag of Geographical Indication would ban others from making and marketing the ‘laddus’ under the same name.

The Tirupati Laddu Patent has been challenged through a 'suo motu' action in Supreme Court by R. S. Praveen Raj, a scientist and resident of Trivandrum, Kerala.

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTDs), the administrative body of Tirupati Balaji Temple, had applied for the GI Tag to effectively tackle the production and marketing of ‘spurious and fake laddus’ in and around Tirupati.

R. S. Praveen Raj is of the view that Tirupati Laddu is a Prasadam, or sacred food offered at temple, and it is not a ‘Good’ – article of commerce. He states that the GI Act in India is meant for the protection of “Goods” only and the act defines “Goods” as any agricultural, natural or manufactured goods or any goods of handicraft or of industry.

He is of the view that patent which makes Tirupati Laddu a good, or article of commerce, hurts the religious sentiments of Tirupati Balaji devotees.

He is also of the view that to get Tirupati Laddu Prasadam one has to visit Tirumala Tirupati Temple and devotees are well aware of this fact so there is no need to give patent to the holy Tirupati Laddu.

Praveen Raj is working as a Scientist in National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science & Technology, Thiruvananthapuram under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) since 2004, and is responsible for Intellectual Property Management, Business Development, Technology Transfer and Human Resource Management. Therefore he is also worried about long term consequences such a patent can create in Indian society.

You can read more about Praveen Raj’s fight against such issues at his official website – secularcitizen

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