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Nuziveedu v. Monsanto – Patentability of Gene Sequences in India (Case Brief and Comments)

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Citation: Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd. and Ors. Vs. Monsanto Technology LLC and Ors., MANU/DE/1388/2018. Brief Facts Monsanto (Monsanto Technology LLC.) holds an Indian Patent (Patent No. 214436, hereinafter referred to as "BT Patent") with respect to gene sequences and methods for inserting such gene sequences into plant cells to express Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) Delta-endotoxin to provide Bollworm resistance in plants. The final granted patent had two sets of claims: one set claiming the isolated, purified and modified gene sequences, and the second set claiming methods of inserting the gene sequences into plant cells. Claims with respect to transgenic plants, hybrid varieties and seeds...

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Plant Varieties: How wise is it to TRIP over food?

This image depicts tomatoes in a zip-lock bag. This post talks about the importance of food protection under the TRIPS agreement. Click on the image to read the full post.

Every country tries its best to ensure that there is no dearth of food. Ensuring that food is of good quality is also important. As much as I’d love to go on talking about food, I will refrain from talking about food per se and concentrate on the legal obligations related to food. This post will concentrate on the relationship between IP and food which is governed by successful research efforts that result in new plant variety or a plant with new and improved characteristics which qualify for Intellectual Property protection under various national laws and under TRIPS.

The effects of increased use of new biotechnology on the right to food cannot be discussed in isolation, but must also take into account the tendency that biotechnology applications are protected by plants or plant breeders right. Art. 27 of TRIPS gives member states the freedom to exclude from patentability plants and animals other than micro-organisms, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals other than non-biological and microbiological processes. However member states have to provide for the protection of plant varieties either by patents or by an effective sui generis system or by any combination thereof. India enacted Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act, 2001.

Patent: Threatened Co-existence of Breeders Rights and Patent Rights

This image depicts two people trying to join a puzzle. This image is relevant as their is a threat to the co-existence of the Breeder's rights and patent rights. Click on this image for more information

Innovation has always been focused on existing plant varieties which scientists use for improvements and for which breeders’ exemption (the right to use protected plant varieties in their research and claim ownership of the results) is granted. But patents don’t provide for a breeders’ exemption and researchers will have to pay for access to patented materials used in their research, if they are allowed access at all. Patent stacking has become common practice – it refers to taking out patents for different aspects of a single innovation, forcing several royalty applications and payments.

From the very beginning Plant Variety Protection Law has contained a special provision that the breeder’s rights shall not extend to acts done for the purpose of breeding, or discovering and developing other plant varieties. It already appeared in Art. 5(3) of the 1961 UPOV Convention and can still be found in Art. 15(1)(iii) of the 1991 UPOV Convention and in Art. 15(c) of Regulation 2100/94 on Community Plant Variety Rights [1994] OJ L227/1. It speaks for itself that this rule has also been laid down in many national Plant Variety Protection regulations ever since.


The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Authority of India granted 49 Registrations for Plant Varieties for the month of October 2013. This adds up to 748 registrations that have been granted since 2007 until 31st October 2013. A table indicating of the number of grants based on category of applicants for the month of October 2013 is represented below: S. No Category of Applicant No. of Registrations Granted 1 Public 33 2 Private 8 3 Farmers 8   Of the 49 registrations granted in October 2013, a statistical representation of grants based on the crop type is represented below:       by Shravan ...

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Patent: “No Patents on Seeds” Against Indian Melon Patent

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The renowned Indian activist Vandana Shiva and the European NGO-platform “No Patents on Seeds” joined forces today to file an opposition against the European Patent EP1962578.The patent was granted in May 2011 as an invention to the US Company Monsanto by the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, Germany and claims melons with a natural resistance to certain plant viruses originating in India. Critics point out that the patent was granted even though European Patent Law does not allow patents on conventional breeding. Furthermore, the reasons for the opposition also rest in Biopiracy. The patent granted to Monsanto raised contentions based...

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