India: Monsanto Vs Nuziveedu Seeds: The BT Cotton Judgment

Last Updated: 27 May 2019
Article by Divyanshi Arora

Monsanto Company is an agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation acquired by Bayer Corporation that conducts research on genetically modified seeds and agricultural crops. Monsanto was one of the first companies to venture into agro-biotech and modify plants and seeds at a genetic level. It focuses on biotechnological advancement of key agricultural crops such as wheat, corn, soybeans and cotton. Monsanto owns a large number of patents related to plant biotechnology and genetically modifies food (GMO's).

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech Pvt Ltd (India), the Indian joint venture of Monsanto has been licensing its BT products to various seed companies in India. Monsanto entered into a licensing agreement with Nuziveedu Seeds and its subsidiaries Prabhat Agri Biotech and Pravardhan Seeds on 21/2/2004. Monsanto licensed its patent IN214436 relating to BT cotton for an initial period of 10 years. A recurring trait-value compensation along with lifetime fee of Rs. 50 Lacs was charged by the Company. These patented seeds were resistant to boll-worm attacks and thus produced higher yield.

Monsanto was asked to reduce the trait-value fee by Indian Companies as new policies for price control were being passed by various State Governments of India. The Indian Companies stopped paying royalties when Monsanto refused to reduce the fee. Monsanto filed an application for injunction on 14/11/15 for trademark infringement and violation of registered patentin view of termination of licensing agreement and also initiated arbitration proceedings for recovery of amount of Rs. 400 Crores from the companies. The defendants claimed for revocation of patent under section 64of Indian Patents Act, 1970 as it was allegedly in violation of section 3(j) of the said Act in respect of plants and seeds that contained DNA sequences and argued that the patent is invalid. They also contended that their rights were protected under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001.

Decision by the Single Judge

The Single judge decision by the Delhi High Court stated that the licence was terminated by Monsanto and patent protection cannot be enforced till the suit was disposed and rejected all the claims for invalidity and rejection of patent. Indian Companies were allowed to use the patented technology and during the pendency of the suit, the trait value compensation is to be paid by the Nuziveedu seeds as fixed by the Government Policies.

Decision of Division Bench of High Court

Both the parties appealed before the Division bench of Delhi High Court against the decision. Monsanto challenged the single judge decision for re-instating the agreement. Nuziveedu challenged the order for the rejection of claims regarding validity of patent. Division bench of Delhi High Court considered that the subject matter was unpatentable according to section 3(j) of Patent Act, 1970. The decision of single judge regarding payment of trait value fee was upheld and Monsanto was given a time of three months to register and seek protection of the already patented invention under Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001.

Decision by Supreme Court

An appeal was filed in Supreme Court and the Supreme Court stated that Division bench did not confine to its adjudication by answering the question of grant of interim or permanent injunction. The Supreme Court also stated that before a patent is revoked, Section 64 of the Patents Act and the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 require consideration of the claims in a suit and the counter claims, as well as the examination of expert witnesses and inspection of documents. The court said that issues raised are technical in nature and the Division bench's decision based on mere examination of documents without any input from experts and witness was not justified. The Supreme court stated that the decision given by single judge was satisfactoryand the case was remanded to the single judge for disposal.


The decision established the BT crops as important innovations that can be protected under patents and quashed all questions relating to validity of such inventions under the Patent Act. This decision will not only reassure the companies to continue the innovation and seek protection under Patents Act, 1970 but also solve issues in Patent law related to biotechnological inventions including DNA, RNA, rDNA and research in the area.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Khurana and Khurana
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Khurana and Khurana
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions