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Delhi HC dismisses Monsanto plea to enforce BT cotton seed patent

The Delhi High Court today dismissed US-based agro major Monsanto Technology’s plea to enforce the patent for its BT cotton seeds in India.
A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Yogesh Khanna partially allowed the counter-claims of three Indian seed companies that Monsanto does not have a patent for its BT cotton seeds, a genetically modified variant which resists bollworms.
The court also upheld the decision of a single judge on the issue of trait fee payable to Monsanto by the three Indian companies — Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd, Prabhat Agri Biotech Ltd and Pravardhan Seeds Private Ltd — under the sub-licence with them.
The single judge had said that the Indian companies would pay trait fees to Monsanto according to government-set rates.
Monsanto wanted to charge a higher rate of trait fee under the sub-licence given to Indian companies to use its seed technology.
Both sides had challenged the single judge’s order before the division bench.
Monsanto had challenged the single judge’s decision reinstating a sub-licence between it and the three Indian seed companies, which the foreign entity had terminated.
The Indian companies in their appeal had challenged the rejection of their claim by the single judge that the US-based agro major Monsanto was incorrectly granted patent for BT cotton seeds.
After the verdict was pronounced, Monsanto sought that the decision be kept in abeyance for a few weeks so that it can file an appeal in the Supreme Court.
The high court declined to keep the operation of its decision in bench, but granted the US company a certificate of fitness to file an appeal in the apex court.