The Delhi High Court on July 5 dismissed Pepsi’s appeal against an order that revoked the company’s patent-protected potato variety used for making chips.
Pepsi had filed an appeal under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001, challenging the December 3, 2021, order.
The Authority order revoked Pepsi’s registration with respect to plant variety- FL 2027 potato variety, on three grounds (Section 34(a), (b), (c) and (h)) of the Act. Pepsi’s application for renewal of its registration was also rejected.
Pepsi’s application for renewal of its registration was also rejected.
The grounds under which protection to Pepsi was revoked by the Authority are incorrect information furnished by the applicant; breeder not providing registrar with such information, documents or material as required for registration under this Act; and grant of the certificate of registration not being in public interest.
The revocation order, passed in December 2021, took away Pepsi’s Plant Variety Protection certificate on the potato variety.
Plant variety protection provides legal protection of a plant variety to a breeder in the form of plant breeder's rights (PBRs). PBRs are IPRs that provide exclusive rights to a breeder of the registered variety.
PepsiCo Inc (appellant) is engaged in manufacturing, distribution, and sale of non-alcoholic beverages such as Pepsi, Mirinda and 7UP. It also makes and sells salted snacks and foods such as Lay’s and Uncle Chipps.
The beverage company claimed that FL 2027 is a chipping potato variety with low-external defects. It has high dry matter/high solids content and stable sugars, all of which make it highly suitable for the manufacture of chips.
“Because of these qualities, however, it requires more time and energy in the cooking process, making it unsuitable for use as a table potato or for everyday cooking in households. The appellant uses it for the manufacture of potato chips under the Lay’s brand,” Pepsi said.