Monsanto cannot enforce Bt cotton patent in India
In a landmark judgement, the Indian Supreme Court upheld the decision of Delhi High Court which refused to grant patent to the global agro-biotech major Monsanto for its GMO Bt. cotton seeds in India.
The court order can be seen as an attempt to break the absolute monopoly that the US company has maintained in the Indian Bt cotton seed market. The High Court had ruled that Monsanto's patents are unenforceable in India while hearing a long fought litigation between Monsanto and the India-based company Nuziveedu.
Monsanto, through its India-based arm Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB), has licensed around 45 local cotton seed companies in return of royalites and trait a gene that when inserted into a plant cell produces a toxin that repels pests like the boll worm on its own. In view of this judgement, the company's patent for this seed technology used in genetically modified Bollgard and Bollgard II cotton varieties cannot be enforced in India.
Nuziveedu Seeds is a leading hybrid seed company in India. It has developed a portfolio of 30 crops. The company through a consortia of seed companies has been working to develop indigenous varieties of Bt cotton in the public-private partnership mode (partnering with state-owned research organisations) to break the monopoly of multinational companies.
Among listed agro-biotech companies, in the early morning session, the stock of Mangalam Seeds was at Rs. 99.95 per share, up by 3.04 per cent, R J Bio-Tech was at Rs. 24.50 per share, up 2.08 per cent, Monsanto India was at Rs. 2699.60 per share, up by 0.39 per cent, while Kaveri Seed was trading at Rs. 519.80 per share, up by 1.15 per cent, Camson Seeds was at Rs. 22.60 per share, down 3 per cent.