Sweet Success

How a temple prevailed in the battle over a geographical indication for its famous confection, Tirupati laddus.

In February 2014, a four-page order by a single judge of the Madras High Court provided closure in a little known, albeit significant, dispute between a trust that manages one of India’s most visited temples, at Tirupati in the Tirumala Hills of Andhra Pradesh, and a restaurant in Chennai.

The dispute centred on the intellectual property rights for an item of food that India had awarded geographical indication status to in 2009: a ball-shaped sweet, a laddu, available only at the temple in Tirupati. Around 125,000 laddus prepared every day within the temple compound, the outcome of the case was to have a profound impact on millions of temple goers, and the GI regime itself.

Contribution by MS Bharath and Gowri Tirumurti.

This article was published in India Business Law Journal April 2014.

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