Lay’s Chips – India Court Reinstates Pepsi’s Potato Patent
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – The Delhi High Court on January 9 overturned a previous decision and ruled in favor of PepsiCo, allowing the company to claim a patent for the potato variety exclusively grown for its Lay’s potato chips.
A division bench set aside a July 2023 order that had upheld the revocation of the patent by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority in 2021.
It dismissed the contentions of farmers’ rights activist Kavitha Kuruganti, who argued that PepsiCo should not be granted a patent over a seed variety for the potato.
“The appeal of PepsiCo is allowed”, it said, setting aside the order and letter, and directing the restoration of PepsiCo’s renewal application to be handled by the Registrar.
The court also rejected Kuruganti’s concerns that PepsiCo, through various lawsuits against farmers, was acting against public interest. It stated that the respondent failed to prove that the lawsuits were vexatious or part of predatory tactics by PepsiCo.
In 2019, PepsiCo sued Indian farmers for cultivating the FC5 potato variety, alleging patent infringement. The company later withdrew the suit, but in December 2021, the PPV&FR revoked its varietal registration certificate.