In a recent development that has sent ripples through the agribusiness sector, the Delhi High Court upheld a decision by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA) to revoke the intellectual property protection previously granted to PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd for a potato variety, as Harish Damodaran reports for The Indian Express.
The potato variety, FL 2027, known for its high dry matter and low sugar content, is ideal for chip production and has been used by PepsiCo in its Lay’s brand chips.
The controversy began when PepsiCo India Holdings, a subsidiary of the US food, snack, and beverage giant, was granted a certificate of registration for FL 2027 as an “extant variety” in 2016. However, the PPVFRA revoked this registration in December 2021, and subsequently rejected PepsiCo India’s application for renewal in February 2022.
The crux of the issue lies in PepsiCo’s initial application for the registration of FL 2027 as a “new variety” in 2012, despite the variety having been commercialized in India in 2009. The court found that PepsiCo had failed the test of novelty required for a “new variety” and had provided incorrect information regarding the first date of sale of the variety.