MONSANTO TECHNOLOGY LLC. V. NUZIVEEDU SEEDS : JANUARY 2019
FACTS OF THE CASE : Monsanto gave 10-year sub-licence agreement to Nuziveedu - to develop & sell ‘GM Hybrid cotton Planting Seeds’ . In 2015, Monsanto terminated its agreement, but Nuziveedu continued to sell GM seeds.
DELHI HC : 2015 : Monsanto filed case against Nuziveedu Seeds for selling Bt cotton seeds using its patented technology.
· CONTENTION OF NUZIVEEDU : Bt. Trait in Cotton Hybrid varietal plants is an essential biological process.
· Section 3(j) - Plants and animals, other than microorganisms, including seeds, varieties and species and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals are not inventions. Therefore they are not patentable.
VERDICT OF HC : TWO ORDERS -
· ORDER 1 : During the pendency of the case, both parties would have to abide by obligations under their agreement.
· ORDER 2 : Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Yogesh Khanna of the Delhi HC recorded one of their conclusions thus – “the subject patent falls within the exclusion spelt out by Section 3 (j) of the Patents Act; the subject patent and the claims covered by it are consequently held to be unpatentable”. It had held that plant varieties and seeds cannot be patented under Indian law.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA : Supreme Court overturned the Division Bench judgement which pronounced the patent and its claims unpatentable, the patent of Monsanto can be assumed to be restored.
SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW ? The Supreme court ruled that the meat of the matter — the validity of the patent — will have to be decided by the trial court, and returned it to the Delhi High Court. The trial court will decide the metes and bounds of section 3(j), a statutory provision that excludes plants and plant parts from patent eligibility.