The food and beverages giant has sued four Gujarat farmers to the tune of Rs 1.05 crore each for growing the same variety of potatoes that is used for making Lays chips. Why is PepsiCo so concerned? What does the law say?
PepsiCo courted controversy when it went after four Gujarat potato farmers for allegedly infringing the company’s exclusive rights to a particular variety of potatoes.
The food and beverages giant filed a case in an Ahmedabad court against the four farmers under Section 64 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001. During the first hearing, the company offered to settle the case such that either the farmers don't use its registered variety of potatoes and destroy their existing stocks, or they enter PepsiCo’s farming scheme and thereby use the company’s seeds to sell the produce back to only PepsiCo. But is it really justified to stop farmers from growing a certain crop? Why is PepsiCo going all out against these farmers?
Asiaville spoke with lawyer Swapna Sundar, who is an expert on Intellectual property rights, to understand what the law says and why the Multinational Corporation may be desperate to protect its brand.