Patent Law to Cover Monsanto Patent on Cotton Seeds

·         Nariman Sinha Overturn HC Verdict on No Patent to GM Seed

Shares of Monsanto India Ltd climb as much as to Rs 2,669, their highest since Sept. 26

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Monsanto Technology to claim patent on its genetically-modified cotton seeds, giving a boost to firms developing new seed technologies.

The ruling overturned an order of a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court last year which invalidated the patent granted to Monsanto — acquired by German firm Bayer AG — saying the gene sequence responsible for the Bt trait that eradicates pests afflicting cotton plants is a part of the seed, and hence, cannot be patented under Section 3(j) of the Patents Act, 1970.

“The order of the Division Bench is set aside. The order of the single judge dated March 28, 2017, is restored and the suit is remanded to the learned single judge for disposal in accordance with law,” Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Navin Sinha said in their judgment on Tuesday.

The court’s order came in a case filed in 2015 by Monsanto, through its Indian subsidiary Monsanto Mahyco Biotechnology Ltd, against Nuziveedu Seeds and its subsidiaries for selling Bt cotton seeds using its patented technology despite termination of a licence agreement. In its appeal in the apex court, Monsanto argued that the HC order would be an impediment to the entry of new technology in the farm sector as technology developers will lose pricing freedom.

Meanwhile, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch has said it would ask the government to amend the patent laws to forbid companies like Monsanto from charging a royalty.

A consortium of seed companies, on the other hand, welcomed the verdict