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Hot potato: Gujarat farmers sued for copy-farming

Hot potato: Gujarat farmers sued for copy-farming

AHMEDABAD: The US food and beverages giant PepsiCo has sued three farmers in Gujarat complaining that they have been illegally growing and selling a variety of potato exclusively registered by the company.

PepsiCo claimed it has sole rights to grow them to manufacture chips of its brand - Lay's.Looking at the company's registration of the potato variety in country's Plant Variety Registry, the commercial court here last week stayed the farmers - Chabilbhai Patel, Vinod Patel, Haribhai Patel - from growing and selling the potatoes till April 26.

The company is the registered breeder of FL 2027 under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001.In India, this variety was first put to commercial use in 2009 and is traded under the trademark FC5.

By growing these potatoes without licence, these farmers in Gujarat are violating its statutory rights.The company further said that it came to know about the farmers growing this potato variety in January.

It said that if the farmers are not temporarily stayed from growing and selling potatoes, the company would suffer irreparable loss and it would defeat the justice.The court appointed the court commissioner for preparing inventory, taking samples and sending them to the government laboratory and Potato Research Centre at Shimla for analysis.

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