PepsiCo’s Potato Patent

Delhi High Court Grants Patent Rights to PepsiCo for Potato Variety

In a significant legal turnaround, the Delhi High Court has sided with PepsiCo, granting the American multinational the right to patent a specific potato variety crucial to its Lay’s potato chips production. This decision reverses a prior ruling from July 2023, which had upheld the revocation of PepsiCo’s patent by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority in 2021.

Court Overrules Objections to PepsiCo’s Patent Claim

Farmers’ rights activist Kavitha Kuruganti’s objections to PepsiCo’s seed variety patent were dismissed by the court. The ruling firmly states, “The appeal of PepsiCo is allowed… The renewal application as made by PepsiCo shall stand restored on the file of the Registrar who shall dispose of the same in accordance with law.”

PepsiCo’s Indian Operations and Farmers’ Agreements

PepsiCo, since establishing its first potato chip plant in India in 1989, has been supplying a special potato seed variety to a group of contracted farmers. These farmers are obligated to sell their produce exclusively to PepsiCo at a pre-agreed price. The court also rejected Kuruganti’s concerns regarding PepsiCo’s legal actions against farmers, not considering them against public interest.