Monsanto may leave India after court rules GMO Bt cotton patent unenforceable

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Image credit: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

The Delhi High Court, on March 11th, ruled that Monsanto’s patents on two genetically modified (GM) seed varieties of cotton – Bollgard and Bollgard II – could not be enforced, thereby concluding a three-year legal feud between Monsanto and its Indian licensee, Nuziveedu Seeds, over unpaid royalties. The ruling effectively terminates the American biotechnology giant’s intellectual property rights to Bt cotton technology in India.

With the latest ruling, Monsanto’s claims against Nuziveedu for unpaid royalties have been waived because its patents are invalid. It will now have to settle for the rates decided by the government.

This is a significant blow for Monsanto, the world’s largest seed producer, as it currently licenses its seeds to nearly 50 domestic companies through its local joint venture with Mahyco Seeds Ltd. It could, in all probability, lead to the company’s complete exit from India.

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High-yielding varieties have helped India become one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of cotton. If patent and pricing rights aren’t adequately protected, a host of companies will be discouraged from selling and investing in the research and development of genetically modified seeds in India.

Read full, original post: Without its GM cotton patents, Monsanto may stop doing business in India

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