Seed industry body FSII today said investment in agri-biotech sector could be affected following a recent Delhi High Court order dismissing US-based Monsanto's plea to enforce the patent for its BT cotton seeds in India.
If the patent protection granted to a biotech trait under the Patent Act is superseded by the protection granted to the plant under the PPV&FR Act upon the insertion of the trait into the plant, FSII said, no organisation will invest money in inventing new traits for agriculture.
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PPV&FR) Act was passed by Parliament in 2001 and an authority has been set up for compliance of provisions of this law.
A trait, whether GM or non-GM, becomes useful for farmers or consumers only when it has been incorporated in the plant, it added.
"There is a need to recognise that organisations have already made significant research investments in the agri-biotech sector. This judgement will severely restrict their ability to license their technologies and will hamper further investments in this sector," FSII said.
By adversely impacting innovation, this judgement will deal a severe blow to the interests of the Indian farmers in the long run, the association said.
Earlier this week, a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Yogesh Khanna of Delhi High Court partially allowed the counter-claims of three Indian seed companies that Monsanto does not have a patent for its BT cotton seeds, a genetically modified variant which resists bollworms.
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