PepsiCo ‘Lays’ off potato farmers, withdraws all cases in Gujarat

PepsiCo ‘Lays’ off potato farmers, withdraws all cases in Gujarat

Bar & Bench

PepsiCo Holdings India Limited has withdrawn all the nine cases filed against farmers in Gujarat for infringing its potato variety.

In Ahmedabad, PepsiCo had filed a suit seeking a permanent injunction to restrain four farmers from infringing its plant variety. It had also sought an ad-interim injunction and damages of Rs. 1.05 crore from each of the four farmers. It has now withdrawn its cases filed against these four farmers.

The company also withdrew cases against five farmers in the Modasa district court on Friday. Two other cases against large farmers and traders were withdrawn in a Deesa court earlier this week.

It is PepsiCo’s case that it is the registered breeder of the potato plant variety ‘FL 2027’ (commercial name FC­5), used in the manufacture of its Lays potato chips. It contended before the court that its statutory rights under Sections 64 and 65 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001were being violated by the farmers.

Before the Ahmedabad City Civil Court, PepsiCo had argued that it was willing to grant licenses to the farmers for use of its potato plant variety, and that it was not keen on pursuing the damages sought in the plaint.

On April 6,On April 6, the court of Judge Moolchand Tyagi had granted interim relief in favour of PepsiCo.

PepsiCo’s infringement suit against four Gujarat farmers had sparked a furore, with farmers unions and activists criticising the company that owns the Pepsi and Lays brands.

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