Patented Potatoes? Heres How Lay’s Tried To Sue Small Indian Farmers And Failed
In a twist in the classic David vs Goliath story, the Goliath has rallied against David here. We are talking about the potential lawsuit with which PepsiCo has threatened small-time farmers in a small village near Ahmedabad, Gujarat in India.
The multi-billion dollar industry has alleged that four farmers of this particular village have been growing a special variety of potatoes whose rights have been bought by the industry. This means that what they have been doing has been a classic case of infringement on one’s patented property. And while they have threatened the small farmers with a lawsuit containing reparations of almost $143,000 each, they have decided to first try to settle amicably.
The potatoes in question are FL-2027, a variety that PepsiCo has exclusive rights over, since 2016 as submitted in the district court, and verified by CNN.
A spokesperson for the company told that they were looking at a lawsuit only because they wanted to safeguard the rights of several thousand farmers who were under a contract with PepsiCo. This would ensure that their privileges and rights aren’t infringed.
Interestingly, PepsiCo is India’s largest potato buyer, and this particular potato has been used to make its uber famous Lays. PepsiCo is also one of the first international companies in India that went for localization and employed several thousand farmers to grow a variety of these protected potatoes.
PepsiCo mentions how there were many farmers who were given the legal right to grow these potatoes, but not Fulchand Kachchawa and Suresh Kachchawa living near Deesa, north of Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
But as we would have it, the small farmers have found themselves being supported by a number of activists and lawyers. Around 190 activists have written to the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, stating how these claims were not only false but could also be an attack on the sovereignty of the nation itself. India Today, a big-time media company writes how the activists believe that these claims are untenable and go against the spirit of a true business transaction.
Now, unless the matter is taken to court or dealt with amicably, we wouldn’t know who is in the wrong.
But if the words of Kapil Shah, head of the law group Janta is to be believed, the behemoth has made a big mistake by accusing these farmers. It will go against their rights to practice free agriculture.
On the 2nd of May 2019 Pepsico announced that they have withdrawn the Indian potato farmer lawsuits after political pressure.
In the end it’s awesome to hear that justice finally prevailed.
IMAGE CREDIT: Twitter