Plant Variety Protection And Farmers Rights Authority:
The Delhi High Court recently upheld an order by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA), revoking the intellectual property protection granted to PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd with respect to a potato variety developed by it.
- It pertains to FL 2027 – a potato variety with high dry matter and low sugar content (better suited for making chips) – grown by some 14,000 farmers in India via contract cultivation and buy-back at pre-fixed rates.
- FL 2027 was developed in 1996 by a US breeder employed with a division of PepsiCo Inc – a manufacturer of potato chips sold under its Lay’s brand.
- PepsiCo India was granted a certificate of registration (by PPVFRA) for FL 2027 for 6-years in 2016.
- During this period nobody else could commercially produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export it without the breeder’s authorisation.
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority:
- It is a Statutory body created by an act of Parliament.
- It works under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- In order to provide for the establishment of an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants, the of India enacted “The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001” adopting sui generis system.
- The legislation recognizes the contributions of both commercial plant breeders and farmers in plant breeding activity and also provides to implement TRIPs in a way that supports the specific socio-economic interests of all the stakeholders including private, public sectors and research institutions, as well as resource-constrained farmers.
- To implement the provisions of the Act, the established the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority on 11 November, 2005.