New Delhi: In a setback to PepsiCo India, the plant varieties protection authority PPV&FR on Friday revoked its varietal registration certificate which was granted to the food and beverages major on a potato variety ‘FL-2027′ in the country.
Reacting to the development, PepsiCo said it is in the process of reviewing the order passed by the Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Authority.
PPV&FR is a statutory body set up under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001.
The authority ruling came over a petition filed by farm activist Kavitha Kuruganti, contending that the grant of the certificate of registration to PepsiCo India was based on incorrect information furnished by it.
She has also contended that the intellectual property right (IPR) granted to PepsiCo India on a potato variety was not as per provisions laid down for registration and was against the public interest.
Moreover, the certificate of registration has been granted to a person who is not eligible for protection under the Act and the breeder (PepsiCo) did not provide the Registrar with such information, documents or materials as required, as per her petition.
PPV&FR has consented to Kuruganti’s submission and said the grant of the certificate of registration was based on “incorrect information” furnished by the applicant.
“Accordingly the certificate of registration dated February 1, 2016 granted by Registrar in favour of the Registered Breeder (PepsiCo) in respect of the potato variety with denomination FL 2027 is hereby revoked with immediate effect,” the authority said in its 79-page ruling.
In its judgement, PPV&FR has also come down heavily on the registrar, saying that “the registrar being protector of farmers’ rights, violated the rules and this has caused hardship to farmer and other.”
“This is totally unacceptable,” it added.
The authority directed the registrar to develop a standardised sheet for evaluation of application for registration of plant varieties in accordance with the Act, rules and regulations.
“Registrar may also constitute a committee and submit the detailed report on how to avoid such instances in future,” the order said.
Commenting on the development, a PepsiCo spokesperson said: “We are aware of the order passed by the PPVFR Authority and are in the process of reviewing the same. Hence, at this moment it would be premature to offer any detailed comments.”
Earlier, PepsiCo India had used the certificate on FL-2027 potato variety to sue farmers in Gujarat in 2018 and 2019.