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Supreme Court backs Monsanto on GM cotton payments

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

(Reuters) - The ruled on Tuesday that U.S. can claim patents on its genetically modified (GM) seeds in the world's biggest of the fibre.

The decision on appeal overturns an earlier ruling by the that - which has been bought by German drug and - was unable to claim patents on seeds.

The outcome is positive for foreign agricultural companies such as Monsanto, Bayer, and which have been concerned that they could lose patents on crops in

"This is a very good move as most international companies have stopped releasing new technology in the Indian market due to the uncertainty over patent rule," said Ajit Narde, a of the Shetkari Sanghatana, a farmers' body, which has been demanding access to new technologies.

Access to advanced technology was important to help Indian farmers to compete with rivals overseas, Narde said.

Mahyco Biotech (India) (MMB), a joint venture between Monsanto and India's (Mahyco), sells seeds under license to more than 40 Indian seed companies, which in turn sell product to retailers.

The ruling came after local company (NSL) argued that India's Patent Act does not allow Monsanto any patent cover for its genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds.

Monsanto's Indian joint venture had terminated its contract with NSL in 2015 after a royalty payment dispute, escalating tensions over and drawing in the Indian and U.S. governments. (

The on Tuesday also said the would examine Monsanto's claims that NSL infringed its intellectual property on Bt cotton seeds.

in 2003 approved Monsanto's GM cotton seed trait, the only lab-altered crop allowed in India, as well as an upgraded variety in 2006, helping transform the country into the world's top and second-largest exporter of the fibre.

Monsanto's dominates 90 percent of India's cotton acreage.

(Reporting by and and in MUMBAI; Editing by and Richard Pullin)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 12:48 IST