Get Up, Stand Up: Farmers Collective Applies for Trademark “WAYANANDAN”
Biowin Agro Research, a company in Kerala, has applied for the mark “WAYANANDAN” under classes 29 and 30, with the Indian Trade Mark Registry. The mark will be used by the company, and by the Wayanad Social Service Society, under which the company hopes to upgrade the organic certification programme. The organic certification is granted to numerous small farmers. The mark’s proprietor is Biowin Agro Research, trading as Wayanandan, and it has been applied for as a single mark, and not as a collective or certification mark. This is a worrying wrinkle, since Biowin is ostensibly looking to protect the rights of small farmers.
However, this application is still an encouraging sign of community organisation, harnessing the power of the law to protect the rights of those that lack unhindered access to legal and business systems. The application will go a long way in helping secure intellectual property rights for farmers that are part of the collective, and hopefully set a positive example to other collectives around the country.
At a time when larger corporates and other private organisations are hastening to impinge upon the territory of smaller (and presumably unorganised) farmers and growers, more marks like this should ideally be applied for, allowing for the most profitable and ethical monetization of the brand and marks involved. Per a news report, the intention is to market all the products under the mark “WAYANANDAN” in the domestic market, allowing the brand greater positioning and recognition in the market.