SC hasn’t upheld agriculture giant’s patents on seeds: Activists – Times of India

BATHINDA: Farm and citizen organisations opposing US-based Monsanto Technology for patents of genetically-modified (GM) Bolgard and Bolgard II cotton seed technology have refuted claims that the Supreme Court upheld patent rights of the multinational company.

Three such organisations — Navdanya, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture and All-India Kisan Sabha — described reports of Monsanto winning patent rights in the apex court on Tuesday as absurb. They said the court only invalidated a previous order by a division bench of the Delhi high court, which had dismissed Monsanto’s appeal with respect to patent exclusion under Section 3(j) of the Patents Act.

They said the SC only said that Monsanto was at liberty to claim registration under Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act (PPVFR), 2001, and directed it to a single bench of the Delhi high court.

Environment activist Vandana Shiva said the SC upheld Article 3(j) of India’s Patent Law, which excludes seeds. “It did not uphold a non-existent ‘patent on seed’ that Monsanto does not and cannot have in India. A patent is an exclusive right granted to an inventor to prevent others from making, using, producing, selling and distributing the patented invention. A patent on seeds would prevent farmers from saving and exchanging seed. It would imply that Monsanto is an inventor of life and the inventor of seed. In India, we did not make this ethical and ontological mistake,” Shiva said. She said India’s patent law made it clear that seeds were not inventions and, hence, could not be patented.

Article 3(j) prevents Monsanto from having a patent on the BT cotton seed. Monsanto had applied for a patent on BT cotton, but could not because Article 3(j) does not allow it. Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture convener Kavita Kuruganti told TOI that the Supreme Court decision has been misinterpreted. “It has only asked Monsanto to go to trial court,” Kuruganti said.

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