The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday (08-01-2019) said that Monsanto can claim patents on its genetically modified (GM) Cotton seeds, a victory for the US company that is expected to encourage biotechnology firms to step up investment in India.
The decision on appeal overturns an earlier ruling by the Delhi High Court that Monsanto - the world’s biggest seed maker, which has been bought by Germany’s Bayer AG could not claim patents on GM Cotton seeds.
New Delhi approved Monsanto’s GM Cotton seed trait, the only lab-altered crop allowed in India, in 2003 and an upgraded variety in 2006, helping transform India into the world’s top Cotton producer and second-largest exporter of the fibre.
Monsanto’s GM Cotton seed technology went on to dominate 90 percent of India’s Cotton acreage. But for the past few years Monsanto has been at loggerheads with Indian seed company Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL) over patents, drawing in the Indian and US governments.
The Delhi High Court ruling came after NSL argued that India’s Patent Act does not allow Monsanto any patent cover for its genetically modified (GM) Cotton seeds.