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Organic Consumers Association

Monsanto's Patent Appeal Rejected by Indian Government, Saving Farmers, Food and Lives

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Less than a week ago, Monsanto got more than a slap on the wrist from the Indian government - they were delivered two fat rejections - one from the patent appeals court and another rejection that was upheld by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.

Dismissing Monsanto's appeal were the Honorable Justice Prabha Sridevi, Chair of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board of India, and the Honorable Shri DPS Parmar, technical member. If you would like to personally thank these individuals for standing up to corporate greed and the domination of the world food supply, you can contact them via the web addresses listed below:

Intellectual Property Appellate Board of India

Monsanto's patent application was refused for both"Methods of Enhancing Stress Tolerance in plants and methods thereof," and "A method of producing a transgenic plant, with increasing heat tolerance, salt tolerance or drought tolerance." The patent office refused the claims because:

" . . .there were no 'inventive steps' and as of the Patents act of 1970. . .as structure and function of cold shock protein was already known in cited prior art and it is obvious to person skilled in plant to make transgenic plant; (iii) It is mere application of already known cold shock protein in producing cold stress tolerant plant and tolerant to heat, salt and drought conditions, claims fall within the scope of Section 3(d) of The Patents Act, 1970. (iv) The patent office found that it is not patentable under 3(j) as claims also include essential biological process of regeneration and selection, which includes growing of plant in specific stress condition."

Part of the reason Monsanto was not able to pass their patents is because the 1970 Patent Act excluded patents in agriculture and medicine. The act had to be amended when India signed the World Trade Agreement (including sections covering Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights). Strong sections of the Act, like 'what are not inventions' in clause 3 and the especially 3d, " excludes as inventions the mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance,' were key in Monsanto's refusal. It was this same clause that kept the Novartis pharmaceutical company from patenting a known cancer-curing drug. They tried to challenge this in the Supreme Court of India, but lost. Many are saying that what the Novaris case is to our global Right to Health, the new refusal of Monsanto's patents are the same Right to Seed and Right to Livelihood for farmers. 


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