PepsiCo willing for out of court settlement with potato farmers in Gujarat

Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad

Global company PepsiCo has shown willingness for out of court settlement with potato farmers who were sued by it for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement. The company claimed that the farmers had grown that variety of potatoes which is used for its product Lays chips.

PepsiCo had also sued four farmers from Sabarkantha district in Gujarat for infringement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of a potato variety named namely FL 2027 also called FC5 – registered under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001. The company sued the farmer for “estimated damages” of about Rs 1 crore to the company by illegally producing its registered variety of potato.

Several farmer leaders, activists and others have written to central and state governments seeking their intervention to protect interests of farmers.

During a hearing on the matter at the Commercial Court here on Friday the counsel appearing for PepsiCo expressed its readiness for an out-of-court settlement and put an end to the case. “Firstly, they have to sign an agreement with us to buy the seeds and sell the produce to us. Or, the farmers give an undertaking that they will never use our registered seeds without permission in future. Whatever stock they have at present, should be given to us,” the counsel told the court.

The farmers have sought time to file written responses and their objections. The next hearing will be held on June 12.

Until then, the earlier order of the court will remain in force. Based on the documents submitted by PepsiCo including its plant variety certificate (PVC) for the said potato variety and the evidences, the Commercial Court had stayed the farmers from growing and selling the potatoes last week.

PepsiCo alleged that the farmers were growing a variety of potato namely FL 2027 also called FC5, on which PepsiCo claimed exclusive rights by virtue of a Plant Variety Certificate (PVC) under the said act. The variety is used for the company’s product called Lay’s Potato Chips.

For news in Hindi see our Hindi daily Chaupal Chronicle

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