A Kerala scientist has moved the Supreme Court challenging the grant of ‘geographical indication (GI) status’ under the Intellectual Property Rights laws to Tirupati Laddoo – the famous offering devotees get as ‘prasadam’ at the Lord Venkateswara temple in Andhra Pradesh.
In his public interest lawsuit, scientist R.S. Praveen of the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, has contended that the GI status to Tirupati laddoo will set a precedent of ‘private appropriation of religious symbols’.
‘I feel very much concerned about the potential devastation to the country, which is likely to happen if private appropriation of religious symbols are allowed,’ he stated while pleading to the court to take ‘on its own’ action to protect the larger public interest.
The government had given geographical indication status to Tirupati laddoo recently to prevent others from marketing the prasadam using the same name.
Under GI, the right to market a product is tied to a definite geographical territory and the manufactured goods have to be produced or processed or prepared within that territory.
Praveen, who is responsible for IPR management and technology transfer at the institute, contended that the GI tag is meant for protection of goods and Tirupati laddoo does not qualify for it.