June 24, 2019
As reported by Global News, Lay’s potato chip owner, PepsiCo. Inc. (“Pepsi”) recently dropped a lawsuit it had brought against four Indian farmers for allegedly growing Pepsi’s patented variety of potatoes.
According to Pepsi officials, the FC5 variety of potato, which is the subject of Pepsi’s patent, was developed by the company and contains a reduced moisture content that is conducive to better potato chips. Pepsi currently supplies seeds to local farmers who, in turn, sell their produce to the company at a fixed price.
In addition to requesting that the court restrain the named farmers from producing the FC5 potatoes, Reuters has reported that Pepsi sought more than 10 million rupees from each of the individuals. Following political pressure, Pepsi agreed to withdraw its lawsuit and has stated that it is “deeply committed” to the thousands of farmers that it works with across India. A spokesperson for the company also stated that Pepsi is keen “to find a long term and amicable resolution” to the issues surrounding seed protection.
Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Sam Galway