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IP Laws, Policy and Recent Judicial Trends in India

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1 IP Laws, Policy and Recent Judicial Trends in India
BAYER CROPSCIENCE LIMITED Workshop on “Opportunities and Challenges of Geographical Indications (GIs) Protection in West Bengal” KOLKATA July 25, 2008

2 " Muga Silk: Post-GI Challenges" July 25, 2008
Rajashree Sharma

3 SNAPSHOT Muga Silk of Assam -Registered GI Basic Information on Muga
Proof of Origin (Historical Records) Geographical Area/Environmental Condition Uniqueness Method of Production

4 SNAPSHOT Registered on as Muga Silk of Assam falling in Class of 23,24,25,27 and 31 MUGA Silk is a product of the Silkworm Antherea Assamensis endemic to Asom The pupa of these silkworms feed on som (Machilus bombycina) and sualu (Litsaea polyantha) leaves The natural golden colour silk produced is known for its glossy fine texture and durability MUGA possesses characteristics, reputation and quality that are essentially attributable to its geographical origin in Asom

5 SNAPSHOT MUGA part of Asomiya community’s traditional knowledge and know-how and linked to tradition and antiquity and is part of the community’s cultural expression. The ‘localness’ of the product is material to the communities’ sustainable development GI protection is capable of serving as a tool for protecting traditional knowledge and cultural expressions for the advancement of indigenous women and rural people in general 1

Asom had a reputation as producer of high quality silk and that the Brahmaputra valley was on the ancient silk route: Yogini Tantra, II.9, p ; Babrubaha Parva, V ; Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, p 264; MUGA identified with Asomiya traditional knowledge, expressions of folklore and culture since antiquity The scientific name of MUGA silk (Antheraea Assama) itself shows its origin The term ‘MUGA’ [unlike Pat (Pattaja) and Endi (Eranda)] is a Asomiya term connoting the rich amber colour of the cocoon.

7 (Kautilya’s Arthashastra: Book II, Chapter 11, sloka 104)
SNAPSHOT PROOF OF ORIGIN Earliest mention of MUGA: Arthasastra attributed to Kautilya mentioned in 321 B.C., that the varieties of textile commodities known as dukula, , was the product of the country Suvarnakudya/Sonkudhia (modern Asom) which was as red as sun (batarkaprabhan), as soft as the surface of gem, being oven while the threads were very wet (manishingdha dake vanam), of uniform (coturasra) or mixed texture (vyamisravana). Kautilya also referred to a variety of silk garments known as patrona produced in the country Suvarnakudya were the best. (Kautilya’s Arthashastra: Book II, Chapter 11, sloka 104)

8 SNAPSHOT PROOF OF ORIGIN Tavernier, John Baptiste “Travels in India”, 1662 p. 220; who made special mention on silkworm variety from Kamarupa (Asom) that remained on trees all year round, meaning nothing but the conventional outdoor rearing of MUGA worm even today. Tallish, Shihabuddin accompanying Mir Jumla (who invaded Assam) during the same time observed the same Bogle, George: Treaty with Bhutan (1775) : Bodo tribals traded munga silk (Latin: Anthera assama) with Bhutan through the Buxa pass

Gait, Sir Edward [“A History of Assam”, 1st Edn., p. 217] the custom house at Hadira opposite Goalpara, fixed a duty of 10% according to the terms of commercial treaty executed with Gaurinath Singha, the Ahom king and Captain Welsh on behalf of East India company in 1793 A. D. He reported that 224 maunds of MUGA silk thread were exported and the value was placed at Rs during that period.

Barua, B.K. [A Cultural History of Assam (Early Period)” Vol. 1 page 103 – Published 1969] quoting various sources states the following: that Asom enjoyed a good reputation for producing natural silk of fine texture; that MUGA was a stouter and more durable fabric than other silk; That MUGA silk from Asom was very much in demand in Europe; and that it formed a trade of the East India company during the 18th through early 19th centuries.

Barua, Kanak Lal: Ksauma, Dukula and Patrorna, Studies in the early History of Assam; p Choudhury P. C. “The History of Civilisation of the people of Assam to the Twelfth Century A.D.”, a Ph. D. thesis of, page 330. “Muga Silk Industry” of S. N. Chowdhury, published by Directorate of Sericulture, Govt. of Assam, page “Silk Production, Processing and Marketing”, by Mahesh Nanavaty, page 107 – 108. “The nutritional biology of Muga cultutre and seed cocoon preservation in Assam” a Ph.D. thesis of Iswar Sarma Bharali, page 16, 17, 19. “Hand Book of Assam, 1976” published by Directorate of Information and Public Relations, Govt. of Assam, page 77.

12 SNAPSHOT Geographical Area

13 SNAPSHOT Geographical Area

14 SNAPSHOT Geographical Area
Asom is located in the tropical latitudes (24.30 N and 280 N) and eastern longitudes (89.50 E and 96.10E) The rivers Brahmaputra and Barak, in the north and south respectively, carve out deep valleys that represent the major part of the state. It is in the narrow strip of the Brahmaputra and Barak valley that the MUGA plant grows abundantly and cultivation is restricted to this area as well The state has an area of 78,438 sq. km representing 2.39 percent of the Indian landmass and a population of 22,414,322 (1991) accounting for 2.64 percent of the total populations of the country

15 SNAPSHOT The Antheraea Assamensis or Antheraea Assama
Geographical Area The Antheraea Assamensis or Antheraea Assama (MUGA silkworm) is cultivated (semi-domesticated) in the Brahmaputra valley with its characteristic ecological requirements MUGA is a polyphagous insect which feed on certain Lauracae. The food plants mostly preferred by the silkworms are Som (Machilus Bombycina King) and Soalu, (Lytsea Polyantha Juss) Machilus Bombycina is naturally abundant in upper Assam which is used for reeling cocoon for commercial use

SNAPSHOT ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITION Lytsea Polyantha is normally distributed in the foot hills of lower Assam and is utilised for seed cocoon production These food plants grow well in warm and humid conditions with sufficient rainfall and acidic alluvial soil with high iron content All the plants are naturally abundant in plains of Brahmaputra basin. The selection of food plants is by nature. Chandrasekhar and Thangavellu, 1986

SNAPSHOT ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITION Natural inhabitant due to agronomic and environmental conditions – MUGA is a Silk worm with unique characteristics like the golden yellow colour MUGA is a non-mulberry silk worm which feed on Machilus Bombycina and Lytsea Polyantha (provides the unique\ pigment) typical to the Brahmaputra Valley of Asom MUGA is a multivoltine insect (producing several generations per year). It is possible to raise 4 – 6 crops in a year. It has lowest number of Chromosomes (n =15) in Antheraean species.

18 UNIQUENESS Muga COCOON has importance as the value of the silk is determined by its colour. The cocoon of the som fed worms is glossier and compact compared to soalu fed cocoon. The cocoons are brownish with slight variation in size and colour. The colour of cocoons however differs in different seasons in both cases.

19 UNIQUENESS “Muga silkworms (Antheraea assama) are ENDEMIC to the state of Assam and feed on 'som' (Machilius bombycina) and 'soalu' (Litsaea polyantha), producing an unusual lustrous golden-yellow, attractive and strong silk… It has the monopoly of world production of golden-yellow muga silk. ” FAO Working Paper on “International Trade in Non-Wood Forest Products 1994”

20 UNIQUENESS MUGA silkworms are raised outdoors.
newly hatched worms are mounted on food plant (som or soalu). They are put either on the east or north side of the trees to get sufficient sunshine by the help of bamboo poles. Another method of mounting the newly hatched Muga worms is by putting small twigs bearing soft and tender leaves over the newly hatched worms in the egg boxes/baskets. The worms will crawl up to the leaves. The twigs with the worms are then tied with suitable branches at different places of the Som/Suala trees for uniform distribution.

21 UNIQUENESS About 300 Som/Sualu Plants may be planted
in one acre (about 3 bighas) of land with a spacing of 3m x 3m. In this plantations about 900 layings of muga worm can be reared in one crop easily. Such, major crop for producing reeling cocoons may be taken up twice at year during April-May (till mid June) and September-October (up to middle of November

22 UNIQUENESS LARVA Three color morph i. e Green, Blue and Orange are available. The predominant Larva is green- some intensely colored and some with light shade. Orange colour larvae has become almost extinct. The nature of distribution of pigment is genetical. The colour of cocoon has no relation with the larva.

23 UNIQUENESS Human dimension – manner and solutions of local inhabitants to overcome climatic, territorial and even socio-economic constraints – TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND KNOW-HOW. ‘localness’ - the motifs that are used on muga silks are largely animals that belong to the Kaziranga - a direct indication of the region to which the muga belongs. Traditional Asomiya dress Mekhela Chadar and the Bihu dance dress in Muga silk.

24 UNIQUENESS Color stability (everlasting)
Golden colour increases with each wash Tensile Strength (4.53g/dn); strongest amongst all silks UV Absorption capacity (>80%) Durability (over 50 years) Acid resistant (resistant to concentrated Sulfuric acid) Comfortable to wear both in summer and winter expensive

25 METHOD OF PRODUCTION Stages of production of manufactured goods:
Degumming of fibre with alkali extracted from seeded banana tree (Bheem kol) typical to Asom as well as with commercial alkali 1. Hand Reeling 2. Winding 3. Warping 4. Weaving Similar to treatment of other silks.

26 Life cycle of Muga Silk Worm
Yarn Male moth Female moth Eggs Cocoon Pupa Fabric Life cycle of Muga Silk Worm 5th instar 1st instar 4th instar 2nd instar 3rd instar


28 BENEFITS OF GI Muga is a cottage industry in Asom and it provides employment to mostly rural womenfolk - potential contribution to sustainable development Diversified products will increase in demand for the products both in domestic and export market. GI Registration of Muga will now provide economic benefits to all the stakeholders and contribute human and social development as a whole and a sure shot way to enhance the economical development of the rural sector.

29 BENEFITS OF GI GI protection could trigger higher Market reward – standardization of quality, embedded ‘messages’ about quality – consumers in niche markets may be willing to pay a Premium Less quantifiable benefit – generating additional employment, increasing income and retaining population in these areas. Accumulated ‘Goodwill’ – niche marketing, brand development and extracting value

30 BENEFITS Muga Silk of Assam after GI registration receiving enough attention through media. Being first GI in Asom Muga has created a lot of passion in the whole N.E. Region and now many products seeking GI protection in Gamosa, Eri, komal chaul etc. Generated awareness among Users and Craftsmen and general public who identifies themselves with Muga as their ‘bapati xahon’.


Department of Sericulture, Govt. of Asom Representative Committee to be formed weavers’ association Relevant District Industry Officer Representative of Dept. Sericulture PIC /ASTEC Central Silk Board Institute of Advanced Studies in Science and Technology, Asom – Laboratory and Certification

33 CHALLENGES AHEAD The proposed GI inspection system will be
specific and deal with Traceability Geographical origin and geographical boundaries Specific soils Specific breeds or plant varieties Specific production criteria or methods Specific know how Particular colour and appearance Specific labeling

34 CHALLENGES Conformity assessments – product sampling
Post-market surveillance Public outreach, information and education Develop and adopt specified requirements or standards Suitable logo

35 CHALLENGES Collective Protection system
Should be headed by the State Govt. System that protects both producers and consumers R&D (product improvement and portfolio to achieve economies and expand sales) Prevent free riders on reputation and quality of GI product.

36 CHALLENGES Strict and qualitative production system to be in place to stop blending of Muga and tassar to dupe customers. High quality assurance and homogeneity- command a premium price. Human dimension to goods-no mass production Most importantly as Proprietor we must have a collective responsibility to ensure that the quality is maintained in all stages by having standardized process in place as soon as possible.

37 WAY FORWARD The Inspection body will certify ‘Muga’ both in origin and conformity to precise rules of processing and manufacturing to guarantee its ‘typicity’ CSB proposes to include Muga in their Annual plan and set guidelines to delimit Muga farming area and also to set criteria to have better yield. Proposes to prepare Rules by the Law Department of Assam in the line of EU countries (i.e. Champagne, Cognac etc.)

38 Third party quality control
WAY FORWARD Quality Control to achieve global recognition and acceptance through GI needed to comply with quality assurance and quality control norms Third party quality control External quality Assessment at least twice a year Internal quality control at regular intervals. Should comply with ISO requirements

1. BURN TEST: The burn test is the best way to confirm the purity of silk. Burning of silk will leave a powdery ash and will extinguish itself when the flame is removed just like wool. The easy way to tell silk and wool apart in the burn test is the smell. Where wool have the smell of burning hair, the silk have a much more disagreeable smell. 2. Chemical Test: The fibre of Muga, Tussar and Bombyx mori have been treated with Conc. Sulphuric acid. The fibre of Bombyx mori. dissolved immediately and the colour become yellowish. The fibre of muga silk has been partially dissolved without changing the colour whereas the colour of Tussar fiber has changed to purple and dissolved partially

40 CONCLUSION MUGA has been identified as a silk of a given quality, reputation and characteristics attributable to the geographical area - Asom - since times immemorial MUGA silkworm as well as the food plants (som/suolu) are unique and typical to Asom and MUGA silk owing to the State’s typical climate, soil and flora/fauna connotes distinctive quality and image

41 CONCLUSION There are inequality of resources, opportunities, information system and infrastructure that need to take care of to protect and preserve Muga in Asom. Like SWA and Champagne Houses the Non Government trade bodies in EU, the Proprietor tier, users and producer must create a voluntary body. Also the Government can act as custodian of community wealth and make Muga Silk Industry as organized sector. Assamese Community has to be alert of any misuse of abuse of Muga Silk in respect of similar or dissimilar goods in generic sense e.g. ‘Muga type silk’.

42 CONCLUSION Widespread promotional campaign for collective marketing and need to develop unique logo. Promotional materials (leaflet, Website) of product taking on point of sale and in exhibition. These will defend the supply chain against imitation. Vigilant against infringement.

43 CONCLUSION To maintain the supply chain integrity the production and marketing are major criteria for GI products. As owners, the producers have to take collective responsibility in ensuring that quality is maintained till it comes to the market, hence market check is also constitutes an important aspect Already present in the global market, now will give leverage for the GI protection

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