The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed United States-based seed manufacturing company Monsanto to claim patents for its genetically modified cotton seeds, Reuters reported. The top court’s verdict set aside a Delhi High Court ruling from 2017.
Monsanto’s Indian arm Mahyco Monsanto Biotech had sued Nuziveedu Seeds – and its subsidiaries Prabhati Agri Biotech Ltd and Pravardhan Seeds Pvt Ltd – in 2016, accusing it of producing genetically modified varieties of hybrid cotton seeds using Monsanto’s trademarked Bollguard and Bollguard-II technology even after their contract was cancelled in November 2015.
In March 2017, the Delhi High Court had ruled that the Hyderabad-based company could continue to use Monsanto’s patented Bt cotton technology as the firm’s termination of its sub-licence agreement with Nuziveedu was “illegal and arbitrary”, Mint reported.
Prominent farmers’ group, Shetkari Sanghatana, welcomed the development. “This is a very good move as most international companies have stopped releasing new technology in the Indian market due to the uncertainty over patent rule,” said Ajit Narde, a leader of the farmers’ body.
M Ramasami, chairperson of the Federation of Seed Industry of India, said the top court’s order will expedite the farming technologies.