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Author Topic: Register “Pure Ceylon Tea”  (Read 845 times)
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« on: March 13, 2010, 04:07:04 AM »

Register “Pure Ceylon Tea”
The Sunday Leader
Sunday, 7 March 2010


The importance of registering the “Pure Ceylon Tea” tagline in order to prevent fraud was emphasized by a tea exporter.

M.C.M. Zarook who runs a tea exporting firm called Sindbad (pvt.) Ltd., alleged that as a result of Sri Lanka Tea Board  (S.L.T.B.)  not taking steps to protect the “Pure Ceylon Tea” tagline, it was being abused, and frauds perpetrated by importers in connivance with certain exporters, holding high office in the country’s tea sector.
He told The Sunday Leader that he knows of one instance where Ceylon Teas is blended with inferior and much cheaper teas like Vietnamese teas, and fraudulently sold to the unsuspecting consumer in the E.U. region as Ceylon Tea.

He had brought this to the notice of the S.L.T.B., but even after the lapse of several months, they were not taking any punitive action to prevent the repetition of such frauds, alleged Zarook, who is also the President of the Association of Small and Medium Tea Exporters’ (A.S.M.E.T.).

This racket of re-packaging tea as Ceylon Tea and selling it to the region was allegedly being done by a German importer. Not only was this importer fraudulently using the Ceylon Tea tagline, he was also allegedly falsely using a few exporters’, who are also in this racket, registration numbers, imputing that what was being sold to the consumer in the E.U. was Ceylon Tea. Those registration numbers are given by the Tea Controller’s Department to ensure that it’s Ceylon Tea that is being shipped, alleged Zarook.

But what happens is that those local exporters were allegedly shipping bulk tea (as opposed to value added tea) which export is however legal, to this German importer, who then allegedly mixes them with Vietnamese tea and sells to the consumer as Ceylon Tea under the registration numbers of those exporters, alleged Zarook.
However the importer has been briefed not to use the Lion logo which is the property of the S.L.T.B., he alleged.

But as there is no copyright on the “Ceylon Tea” tagline, that is being used by this importer to sell his teas as Ceylon Tea spuriously, whilst avoiding the use of the Lion logo, alleged Zarook.

Claiming that such international patents are not that costly, he said that he is in the process of universally registering the name “Sinbad” for is tea exports at a cost of Great Britain Pounds 1,000 (Rs. 1.8 million) through a patent office in U.K. In that backdrop, the cost to the S.L.T.B. to register the “Ceylon Tea” tagline would be “marginal,” said Zarook.
“The ‘Lion’ logo is already the property of the S.L.T.B., it was protected by the S.L.T.B. soon after ‘Ceylon’ changed its name to “Sri Lanka” after adopting the first Republican Constitution in May 1972, nearly 30 years ago,” he said.

Another alleged clue that what the German importer is selling is not Ceylon Tea is that he uses stickers in his tea packs to advertise his teas as Ceylon Tea, whereas S.L.T.B. precludes local  exporters from using stickers, instead those logos and taglines have to be printed on those boxes that carry such exports under S.L.T.B. rules, alleged  Zarook. He also claimed that he is the largest exporter of value added teas to the German market, having had exported some 330,000 kilos of teas last year. “My teas fetch a price of between U.S.$ 4½-6½ a kg., whereas the export of bulk teas fetch only a little over U.S.$ 3 a kg.,” he alleged.

S.L.T.B. Investigating
Sri Lanka Tea Board Director General H.D. Hemaratne told The Sunday Leader that steps are being taken to register the “Ceylon Tea” tagline as well as other “geographical indicators” such as “Uva Teas” and “Nuwara Eliya” Teas under  international intellectual property law.
 
Investigations into a complaint made against one exporter and its allied companies on allegations made by Sindbad (pvt.) Ltd., that that company’s and its associates’ tea exports, after being mixed with Vietnamese teas at the importer’s end and being marketed as Ceylon Tea by the German importer,  has proven that charge to be false.

However investigations against another local exporter accused of the same charge, are continuing.

Under special circumstances, depending on the constitution of the tea-pack, stickers denoting those to be “Ceylon Tea” pasted on such packs, without such branding being imprinted on the tea pack, are allowed.

Source: The Sunday Leader http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2010/03/07/register-%E2%80%9Cpure-ceylon-tea%E2%80%9D/
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