PepsiCo’s IPR on Potato Variety (FL-2027) Revoked – An Overview
In what turned out to be a major blow to PepsiCo India, the plant varieties protection authority PPV & FR on 3rd Dec, 2021 revoked its varietal registration certificate, which was issued to the food & beverages major on potato variety (FL-2027) in India. Reacting to the development & improvement, PepsiCo said it’s in the process of examining the order announced by the PPV & FR (Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights) Authority. Scroll down to check more information regarding the revocation of PepsiCo’s IPR on potato variety.
Revocation of PepsiCo’s IPR on Potato Variety – Detailed Analysis
The PPV & FR Authority cancelled a Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Certificate granted to PepsiCo India Holding (PIH) on the FL-2027 potato variety on various grounds. The PPV & FR (Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights) Authority is a legal body established under the Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001.
So, PepsiCo’s IPR (Intellectual Property Right) granted on the potato variety in a Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Certificate in Feb 2016 will be taken back. The application to revoke or cancel the PVP Certificate was filed by Kavita Kuruganti (Activist) of the Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture on June 11, 2019.
She has also challenged that Intellectual Property Right granted to PepsiCo India on a potato variety was not according to the provisions set up for registration & was against the interest of the public. Additional, the Registration Certificate has been issued to an individual who is not liable for protection under the Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001, and PepsiCo didn’t provide the Registrar with such details, materials/documents as needed, as per her petition.
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights has approved the submission of Kuruganti and said the grant of the Registration Certificate was based on incorrect or wrong information provided by the applicant. As per the Registration Certificate dated February 01, 2016 issued by the Registrar in favour of the registered breeder, i.e., PepsiCo, concerning the potato variety with denomination FL-2027, it is hereby cancelled with immediate effect.
In its judgment, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights has also come down deeply on the Registrar, saying that “the Registrar being a shield of farmer’s right infringed the rules & this has caused hardship to famer & other. This is totally unacceptable,” it added.
The PPV and FR Authority directed the Registrar to develop s standardised sheet for evaluation of Registration Application of plant varieties as per the Act, Rules & Regulations. The order said, “Registrar may also include a committee and submit the detailed report on how to avoid such matters in future”.
A spokesperson of PepsiCo said, “We are aware of the order passed by the authority and are in the process of examining the same. Therefore, at this moment, it would be premature to provide any comments”. In the past, PepsiCo India had used the Registration Certificate on FL-2027 to sue farmers in Gujarat in 2018 & 19.
PepsiCo’s action against farmers was relying on a non-existence exclusive right that it claims to have obtained against Indian farmers, Kuruganti said. Kuruganti also said, “The Authority’s judgement today also says this. On the other side, the Indian Legislation is unmistakable that farmers have over-arching rights over what seed they can use and what they are eligible for doing this with their products from any variety, comprising a seed of registered variety”.
The only situation is that farmers shouldn’t sell seeds of safeguarded varieties in a brand fashion intentionally, she added. “Regardless of the law being this clear, PepsiCo India bothered and intimidated farmers & sued them for excessive levels of alleged damages in2018 & 19. Further, she said that the judgment brings to ling the procedural gaps in the issuance of Plant Variety Certificates.
Conclusion – PepsiCo’s IPR
The revocation of the application was filed on June 11, 2019 and the PPV and FR Authority took almost thirty months in arriving at this conclusion. Now, the company has just about less than two months of the actual registration time duration left which is till January 31, 2022. However, the Registration Certificate given to the company was renewable up to January 31, 2031, but not stand revoked.
Read our Article:A Complete Analysis of Intellectual Property Audit