Monsanto vs. Indian Seed Companies: Enforcement of rejected patent claims?
As has already been reported on SpicyIP and the mainstream media, Monsanto and Indian seed companies are involved in a series of lawsuits against each other on a variety of different issues such as patents, plant variety protection, trademark, and competition law.
Earlier this month, a counter claim for patent and trade mark infringement was filed by Monsanto at the Delhi High Court against another seed company, Amar Biotech. With this suit, 27% of the Indian cotton seed market has been brought under the threat of injunction. Monsanto has also invoked arbitration proceedings against four other companies having a collective market share of approximately 40%.
Companies are not the only ones fighting it out with Monsanto. A group of farmers in Maharashtra have asked the Bombay High Court to declare that their traditional plant breeding activities and the consequent exchange or sale of their Bt cotton seed does not infringe any patent rights of Monsanto.
With two-thirds of the Indian cotton seed industry, as well as farmers, questioning the alleged patent rights of Monsanto, it is useful to examine the patent issues involved a little more closely.
At the center of the entire controversy is claim 25 of Indian patent no. 214436 which reads as follows:
Claim 25: A nucleic acid sequence comprising a promoter operably linked to a first polynucleotide sequence encoding a plastid transit peptide, which is linked in frame to a second polynucleotide sequence encoding a Cry2Ab Bacillus thuringiensis δ-endotoxin protein, wherein expression of said nucleic acid sequence by a plant cell produces a fusion protein comprising an amino-terminal plastid transit peptide covalently linked to said δ-endotoxin protein, and wherein said fusion
 CS 109/2017