January 20, 2022
Reuters recently reported that India revoked a patent for the potato variety FC5, which was held exclusively by PepsiCo Inc.’s (“PepsiCo”) Lay’s potato chips brand.
In 2019, PepsiCo sued several Indian farmers for cultivating the FC5 potato variety, which the company argued infringed its potato patent in India. While PepsiCo ultimately withdrew the lawsuits, a farmers’ rights activist in India petitioned the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (“PPVFR”) Authority to revoke PepsiCo’s FC5 potato variety patent, arguing that India does not allow for such patents on seed varieties.
The PPVFR Authority agreed and stated that the “certificate of registration [of PepsiCo’s FC5 patent]… is hereby revoked with immediate effect”.
A spokesperson for PepsiCo has reportedly stated that the company is aware of the order and is reviewing it.
Authors: Matthew Erdman and Caitlin Woodford