Monsanto patent issue set to be heard in Supreme Court on 18th July

Monsanto and its supporting associations will have to submit its response before the Supreme Court of India on an appeal by Nuziveedu Seeds seeking refund of all the trait value of Rs 63.96 crore paid by it for supply of BT Cotton seed varieties after termination of its sub-licence agreement


New Delhi: The Supreme Court has sought response from Monsanto and others on an appeal by Nuziveedu Seeds that is seeking refund of all the trait value of Rs 63.96 crore paid by it for supply of Bt Cotton seed varieties ‘Bollguard’ and ‘Bollguard’ II after termination of its sub-licence agreement.

However, the bench led by justice Rohinton F Nariman refused to stay a part of the Delhi High Court order that asked Nuziveedu to pay trait value to Monsanto, as the latter was also held to be under an obligation to supply seeds containing BT gene for the trait value fixed by the central Government.

The apex court also issued notice on the Federation of Seed Industry of India’s plea against the HC’s order on the Monsanto’s patent issue. Supporting Monsanto Technologies’ case, the Federation said the impugned order has international ramifications for the agricultural biotechnology sector. It said the HC judgment is flawed and contrary to one of the fundamental principles of patent law that to determine patentability of an invention, commercial utility of the invention is irrelevant.

Earlier, as a result of the HC order of May 2, the patent held by Monsanto, through its Indian arm Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech (MMBL) over its Bollgard-II BT Cotton seed technology, a genetically modified variant which resists bollworm pest, was ruled to be unenforceable in India. However, the HC had permitted MMBL to approach the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA) under the agriculture ministry for registering the variety within three months, following which the authority would have to decide on a benefit-sharing mechanism.

All the cases will come up for further hearing on 18th July 2018.