Patenting divinity to fight fakes

Patenting divinity to fight fakes

Tirupati prasadam

Patent rights will now enable authorities to book cases against counterfeiters.

Certainly, when the desire to make a laddoo becomes a business proposition.

The renowned “Tirupati laddoo”, a sacred “prasadam” offered to devotees at the Lord Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh, has received geographical patent that bars others from naming or marketing the sweetmeat preparation under the same name.
The patent rights have been granted under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of the Government of India.

According to an announcement by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the temple of Lord Venkateswara, patent rights will prevent the sale of ‘fake’ laddoos.
Owing to the huge demand for the coveted sweetmeat, some have been surreptitiously exploiting the brand name and selling fake laddoos to gullible devotees.

Although the TTD authorities are aware of this flourishing business, they have not been successful in curbing it.

TTD sources here said the patent rights would now enable the authorities to book cases against ‘counterfeiters’, apart from ensuring the purity of the original product.

Under the geographical patent norms, the right to marketing a product is tied to a definite geographical territory and the manufactured goods should be produced or processed or prepared in that territory. According to TTD, the Tirupati laddoo was introduced at the Venkateswara temple about 80 years ago.

It was then priced at one anna (16 annas made one rupee then) and weighed 500 gm.
The price was raised to one rupee in the 1960s, while the weight of the laddoo was reduced to 180 grams. In the 1980s the laddu was priced at Rs 4 and in 1990s it cost Rs 10. The price went up to Rs 25 in 2006.

Over 25 million laddus are prepared annually at India’s richest temple, which is visited by about 20 million devotees from all over the country and abroad every year.

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