SpicyIP Tidbit: Hyderabadi Haleem gets dubious GI tag

From my own hometown [:-)], the famous- and extremely yummy- Hyderabadi Haleem has now been recognised as a Geographical Indication.

Now, while noone who has eaten Haleem will deny its unfailing quality to make the mouth water, this GI tag is already under some scrutiny. One of our regular commentators/content providers, Mr. RS Praveen Raj, in this report of The Hindu, has said that just like the Tirupati Laddu, the Hyderabadi Haleem perhaps is not worthy of a GI Tag, for the geographical location does not add to the dish/preparation itself, nor does the same probably conform to the definition as required under the Geographical Indications Act, 1999.

Do we have yet another GI Controversy brewing? SpicyIP definitely hopes so.

In the meantime, Id Mubarak to all! And here are some recipes to make Haleem (not Hyderabadi) at home, or in your city!



    A News item appeared in “fnbnews.com” posts a few layman questions


    In fact, a large number of cheap restaurants in Hyderabad are also making Haleem during the holy month of Ramzan without observing the quality standards. What will happen to such restaurants? Will they be able to prepare and sell Haleem?

    Now since Hyderabadi Haleem has got the GI status, will someone take up the case of Hyderabadi Biryani for a similar GI status. Hyderabadi Biryani is famous and Biryani made outside Hyderabad is not the same in taste and quality.

    The Report says

    The tag implies that henceforth shops that prepare Haleem outside Hyderabad will not be able to sell products as Hyderabadi Haleem and even those within the city can only claim the GI tag if they meet the quality standards. Majeed said the GI status carried certain standard procedures that had to be followed, right from procuring the ingredients to the 12-hour cooking process.

    Majeed, whose Pista House is the largest Haleem maker in Hyderabad, exuded confidence that the tag would help protect the popular dish. “We filed for the GI tag as we felt the need to check the misuse of the name Hyderabadi Haleem. People in other places are making the dish in this name without even following the basic quality standards,” he said


    Will it not a bad practice to grant GI on food preparations (dishes – directly from kitchen) ? Is it not a ‘monopoly in abstract’ ? Why can’t we keep away ‘food preparations’ at least from the purview of IPR ?

    Is ‘Hyderabadi Haleem’ really eligible for GI ? The peculiarity is only in the method of preparation. The quality will not change even if it is made in other parts of the world (Of course, you need to know the exact method of preparing it). Folks prefer to eat it because of its taste and not because it comes from a particular location.

    Above all, GI is not meant to be a quality certificate.

  3. Anonymous

    GI i meant to be a quality certifcate! See the Sttament of objects and reasons to the GI Act or the Act itself. It is meant to ensures that the goods sold under a particular GI meet with the quality and reputation or other characteristics of the goods and prevents the consumers from deception.

  4. Anonymous

    Even a common man can understand “what is GI” , how ever the authorities of IPR division how does ridiculously give the certificates like “Hyderabad Haleem “

  5. irreverentindian

    it is a strange argument that food items should be kept out of GI. In fact, the entire genesis of GI can be traced worldwide to food and beverages. I will not get into other aspects of the debate but it may be useful to say small producers of this dish have nothing to worry. It is up to association to decide against whom they wish to enforce the GI.

    all the best to those who wish to augment their traditional cuisine by having variations with in small range. And if the range expands, may be they will amend the GI too.


  6. Ravi S

    Dear SPICY IP bloggers,

    Since, it was me who initiated this GI from the conceptualization stages and till the time it has proceeded towards grant, Its my duty to answer few of the queries raised till now. Of course, after more others comment, I shall follow with my reply later.

    Well, Shri. Praveen raj has written

    ### Will it not a bad practice to grant GI on food preparations (dishes – directly from kitchen) ? Is it not a ‘monopoly in abstract’ ? Why can’t we keep away ‘food preparations’ at least from the purview of IPR ?

    Well, my reply to the above query is there is an invisible boundary layer which separates, food stuffs, prepared in kitchen in a non commercial scale and those prepared in commercial scale.

    It is well understood that GI or any IP rights, are not binding any goods that are being manufactured for private use. We even see, plethora of patents granted for ‘process for idly making’ etc.

    But, when it comes to commercial manufacture,and even exporting of the product in cans (like meat being sold in tinned containers in west) the reputation of the product assumes more significance. An authorised user of the GI tag, ( hyderabad haleem in this case) will definitely create an impact in the minds of the consumer abroad or even at a place away from Hyderabad in India reg. the genuinity and authenticity of ‘Hyderabad Haleem’ he/she is purchasing. ( including the ‘halaal’ cut meat, which is integral part of the manufacture and much importance is adhered by many who consume this meat product)Even in the statement case, this cutting of meat is prominently highlighted amidst other parameters for making of ‘Hyderabad Haleem’

    Also, Shri. Praveen raj has stated
    @@@@ Is ‘Hyderabadi Haleem’ really eligible for GI ? The peculiarity is only in the method of preparation.

    Well, a really interesting question. My take is this. The habit/tradition of consumption of Haleem after the ‘roza’ ( fasting) ends during ‘Ifthar’ is predominantly practised in Hyderabad ( Deccan) ( as it may be noted that there is another counterpart for it in our neighbouring country which is Hyderabad ( sindh. It is for that aspect the GI is sought for and of course, more Hyderabadis are spread far and wide in the globe nowadays and have taken the culture of ‘Haleem’ with them and thanks to its taste due to various factors, ‘haleem’ has carved out a niche in the tastebuds of its likers cutting across lines of religion, language etc.

    Given that reputation it has created, then why not it deserve a GI tag ?

    Reg. the comment of

    ### It is a strange argument that food items should be kept out of GI. In fact, the entire genesis of GI can be traced worldwide to food and beverages.

    Well, classification 29 and 30 in Indian GI,pertains to meat and meat extracts and food items.

    So, food items, whether they occur naturally or processed in my understanding should come under purview of registration under GI, prima facie.

    But, I need further explanation about ‘DISH’ ( freshly prepared food) and normal food item.

    Even in that matter, nowadays, ‘Hyderabad Haleem’, is sold in cans / tins and its shelf life is increased to months if used in frozen condition and later on heated and consumed.

    These are my preliminary thoughts.

    Let the discussions proceed.

    Ravi S

  7. Akshay

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but a GI protection doesn’t stop anyone from augmenting the process does it? They just call it ‘Hyderabadi haleem’, that’s all, they can presumably call it “Khairatabad Haleem”, “Barkas Haleem” (‘bar_khaas_ haleem’ for added puns), or Madannapeta-ka-mashoor-haleem or any of the multiple variations thereof. Not just Hyderabadi haleem.

  8. Anonymous

    Henceforth the manufactures registered this GI (the registered proprioters) ONLY can make and sell Hyderabad Haleem. If others sell it it is GI violation. Both civil and criminal action can be initiated agisnt that.


    A News report appeared in “Bar & Bench” yesterday is interesting. It says that the inspiration behind Haleem GI is “Tirupati Laddu”.

    IIT alumni founded Adhikari IP secure GI tag for Hyderabadi Haleem: Hyderabadi Biryani next in line

    Bar & Bench News Network
    Sep 13, 2010

    The popular haleem from Hyderabad, made predominantly during Ramzan will soon get the Hyderabadi tag like the Tirupati Laddu.

    The Registrar of the Geographical Indications Registry has granted the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag under the GI Act, 1999. What this means is that the haleem makers outside Hyderabad will not be able to sell their product as Hyderabadi Haleem and the ones that are made within the city, will be subjected to strict quality standards.

    Adhikari IP Consultants (AIPC) team of Managing Director Venkat Adhikari and IP Consultant S. Ravi led the team at AIPC.

    Speaking to Bar & Bench Venkat Adhikari said, “Since a GI tag was granted to Tirupati laddu, the Haleem Makers’ Association of Hyderabad (HMAH) decided to pursue and secure a GI tag”. He added, “We have also filed for a GI tag for the famous Hyderabadi Biryani. There is no biryani makers association like the HMAH and therefore the process of securing the GI tag is being delayed”.

    S. Ravi, Patent Manger at Adhikari IP Consultants speaking to Bar & Bench said, “There is a lot of misconception on the grant of GI tag. The concept of GI is evolving in the country. The practice of breaking a fast through haleem originated in Hyderabad and the [GI] registry has taken that into consideration”.

    Does this mean, that a small haleem maker in Hyderabad or Bangalore will not be able to make haleem? No, says S. Ravi. He adds, “GI tag was enacted to improve the traditional industry. Its a community right and does not operate like a trademark or a patent. The GI tag is given under the Part A of the Act and any haleem maker has to apply for the Authorized user tag after filling the affidavit under Part B”. The GI tag only allows use of “Authorized user of registered GI Hyderabadi Haleem” says Ravi.

    Praveen Raj, a scientist has voiced his opposition to the grant of GI tag for food items whose taste does not change by the geographical location, if the process of making these items remains consistent.

    Speaking to Bar & Bench, Praveen said, “The taste of the Hyderabadi haleem does not change if the process of making the haleem is as per the prescribed norms, immaterial of where you cook. These days, anything named after a place is given a GI tag and that position is incorrect.”

    A NDTV news report details the cooking process of Haleem, “[Haleem] has to be goat meat, cooked in pure ghee and the cooking has to be done over firewood for 12 hours. You can’t cook on gas and claim the GI tag,” said the Haleem Association President Mohammed Abdul Majeed.

    Praveen said, “This cooking process can be initiated and completed in Bangalore, Chennai or New York”. Taste is not going to change if we follow the same procedure” he added. What stops Chicken Chettinad from securing a GI tag was his question.

    Adhikari IP Consultants is a full service patent company founded by IIT alumni. The company has nearly 20 associates and is working on a number of interesting GI registry tags.


    These days, anything named after a place is given a GI tag. GI Registration in India is more like the promotion spree of populism.

    Now the politicians from respective states would line up for supporting the GI Claim for dishes named after some place in their state. Tomorrow, there may be many meaningless GI’s like chicken chettinadu, Malabar chicken etc.. etc…

    If we allow this practice, access to freshly prepared food will become a thing of the past. We will have to be satisfied with malabar chicken available in packets, when you order it in a restaurant. (Like Packaged drinking water, Cocacola, Pepsi etc..).

    How many of our restaurant owners would dare to fight a legal battle against powerful money mafia holding the GI certificate ? Suppose if they dare to do that, then our courts will be flooded with GI cases.

    Ultimately the purpose of GI is not to create monopoly (monopoly held by a select group also is a monopoly). Also, any product with a GI tag is going to be costlier. In view of the above, it is imperative that GI granted to ‘Tirupati laddu’ and Hyderabadi Haleem’ be revoked at the earliest.

    I have already petitioned the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) pleading a ’suo motu’ action under section 27(4) of GI Act for revoking the Tirupati laddu GI. Journal papers/articles authored by erudite IP Academics also have been submitted to substantiate that the Grant of GI to Tirupati laddu is against the spirit of GI Act, 1999.

  11. Prashant Reddy

    Mr. Raj, I think we can all safely say that the IPAB is not going to take suo moto action.

    If you want to ensure that such GIs are not granted on a daily basis you will just have to file a rectification petition against the Tirupati GI.

    Why don’t you atleast give it a shot? As I argued in my last post you should definitely have the standing to oppose the grant as you are an aggrieved person.

    Warm Regards,


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