India has revoked PepsiCo Inc’s patent for a potato variety that is grown exclusively for the company’s potato chips.
The order was issued by the country’s Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority on Friday. It follows a lawsuit the consumer packaged good (CPG) company filed against Indian farmers in the western state of Gujarat for growing the FC5 variety that is known to have a lower moisture content, which is required for making potato snacks.
While the company later withdrew its patent in hopes of amicably settling the issue, farmers’ rights activist Kavitha Kuruganti filed a petition with PPVFR, asking the regulator to revoke the company’s intellectual property rights on the potato variety as India does not support patents on seed varieties.
PPVFR agreed with Kuruganti’s claim and canceled the CPG giant’s patent on FC5.
“The certificate of registration…is hereby revoked with immediate effect,” K. V. Prabhu, chairman of the PPVFR Authority, said in the order that was first seen by Reuters.
PepsiCo argues that it developed the potato variety and has held a patent on it since 2016. The company has since been supplying the Fc5 seed variety to a group of farmers who then grow and sell their produce back to the company at a set price.
“We are aware of the order passed by the PPVFR Authority and are in the process of reviewing the same,” a PepsiCo spokesperson said on the ruling.
Indian farmers from Gujrat have hailed the ruling as a victory for their rights.