Transgenic crops have always been the topics of hot controversial debates. The genetic alteration by the insertion of the genetic material containing the code for desired phenotypic expressions from another species confers some beneficial characteristics in the created crops. The case of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton is a perfect example of the complex challenge regarding IPR and commercial property rights in the case of seeds and plants. On October 31, 1995 Monsanto got final approval for the commercial sale of its genetically modified cottonseed Bolgard engineered to produce its own insecticide. The seed contains a gene that codes for Bt, a naturally occurring soil bacterium that produces proteins that are toxic to many larvae of the lepidoptera order. Monsanto holds patents for this technology.
Monsanto has three conditions for sale of its invention – Bolgard .
 Growers agree to pay a technology fee
 Growers are forbidden to save seeds for future use
 Growers agree to plant a refuge of non-Bt cotton aside from their Bt cotton in order to ward-off resistance to the Bt toxin among target pests.
It is this first condition under which Monsanto is charging a royalty for developing a technology. In India the royalty charged is Rs 1250 on each 450gm packet of Bt cottonseed thereby pushing its sales price to around Rs.1800 whereas in US the royalty charged is not more than Rs. 180. In the light of this, Andhra Pradesh Government has made a reference in the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission accusing Monsanto of collecting ‘exorbitant’ royalty from growers and in the process unjustifiably exploiting its invention. The multinational defending its stance says that the use of Bt seeds saves growers on the expense of four to five pesticide sprays resulting in less pesticide use and increased income.
The issue which surfaces from this case is, whether a company selling a much sought after technology could have an unfettered discretion in determining the quantum of royalty it could charge under the guise of "trait value" or "technology fees".
Intellectual Property Rights under Patent Laws enable the right holder to exclude others from making, using and selling his invention for a term of years. The object behind this is to create an environment for betterment of industrial techniques through conferring a monopoly for a period of time. IPR is in essence a contract between the right holder and the society in which the statutory protection granted to the innovator for his creation to reap economic benefits makes the right holder duty-bound to exploit the creation for public good. This calls for a well-balanced competition policy that compliments the IPR laws.
The MRTP Act regulates trade and imposes prohibition on monopolistic trade. The character of a monopolistic trade can reflect in pricing of goods, control of production, charge reduced to unreasonable limits etc. The statute tries to rein in these and other similar eventualities to give to the players a level playing field for fair distribution of wealth and negation of the concentration of economic power. The exclusion provision under the statute that keeps out from the purview of monopolistic trade such trade practices expressly authorised by any enactment in force is a slippery ground for the Government along with the defence of the existing level of royalty by saying that use of Bt seeds save farmers on the expense of four to five pesticide sprays.
Further action on the notice served on Monsanto will reveal that whether exclusivity of patents is used as a competitive edge or not. To foster fair competition in the market we should identify factors, which would harmonise the competition policy and patent law.
This article enunciates the recent, much awaited, and landmark judgment delivered on September 16, 2016 by Hon'ble Delhi High Court throwing light on the important provisions of the Copyright Act, 1962.
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion recently issued an office memorandum pursuant to receiving representations from various stakeholders for guidance with respect to the applicability of the provisions of Section 31D of the Copyright Act, 1957.
An Invention Disclosure Form is the documentation of the invention. This is a means to document particulars of your invention and submitting it to the patent attorney who is filing your patent application.
The Patents Act 1970, along with the Patents Rules 1972, came into force on 20th April 1972, replacing the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911. The Patents Act was largely based on the recommendations of the Ayyangar Committee Report headed by Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar. One of the recommendations was the allowance of only process patents with regard to inventions relating to drugs, medicines, food and chemicals.
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