Mr. Augustine and his patented ‘tender coconut wine’

‘God’s own country’ – Kerala gives us yet another product to relax and soothe those frayed nerves of yours. ‘Tender coconut wine’ made from ‘tender coconut water’ was granted patent (No. 209015) on Aug 16 last year by the Indian Patent Office. (My many thanks to Shamnad our man from Mallu land for directing me to this story.) The patent is in the name of Sebastian P. Augustine a farmer, from Kalsgrod Districtin Kerala, who has won the won the Kera Kesari award in 1998, instituted by the Kerala government to recognize the best coconut farmer in the state.

Please click on this link for the full story and the recipe to make this wine. (Don’t you dare infinge the patent though!)

Mr. Augustine is an extremely enterprising man. He’s lobbying with the Government of Kerala to make this wine Kerala’s tourism USP. After all the vineyards of France are a major draw for tourism. Not to forget our own Goan Feni which I’m sure is one of the reasons for the burgeoning tourist population in that State. Feni by the way has an application in its name pending in the GI Registry. However our bureaucracy as usual is conniving with the dark forces and putting up roadblocks to Mr. Augustine’s efforts. As usual ONLY the ‘Mint’ carried this ‘complete coverage’. Full story here.

Getting back to the patent – SpicyIP did a search on the ‘GodSent’ – India BigPatents Database which threw up two hits for ‘tender coconut wine’. While one was the current patent in question, the other was filed by the Coconut Development Board based in Chennai bearing application number 765/CHE/2005 and is still pending to the best of my knowledge. While I haven’t been able to access the full texts for the patent filed by the Board I was able to read the abstract on the India BigPatents database and compare it to Augustine’s patent pending in the USPTO – at first glance they look rather similar – both are based on seven month old tender coconut, both claim to have no preservatives or colouring agent and both claim medicinal and nutritional value. Obviously we can’t tell whether or not the second patent will stand the test of novelty until we read both patents.

Something which struck me rather amusing was the fact that the USPTO patent application filed by Mr. Augustine – 20070178191 claims that this wine will be “a highly healthy, hygienic and nutritional beverage”. So I guess they can start handing out this patented wine as a sports drink 🙂 !

Anyway enough of patents lets raise our glasses to our innovator from Kerala – Augustine – Cheers!
Prashant Reddy

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).

One comment.

  1. AvatarAnonymous

    Very interesting observation Prashant. There are many other Malus, I know of, who are practicing in IP.In fact a lot of them must be SpicyIP readers.
    If there are Malus reading this blog, please comment on this post so that we get to know how many more ‘mals’ are practicing in this field.


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