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Supreme Court to hear appeals on Monsanto patent issue on July 18

The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from Monsanto Technology and others on an appeal by Nuziveedu Seeds, one of the leading cotton seed producers in India, seeking refund of all the trait value of Rs 63.96 crore paid by it to the US biotechnology firm for supply of BT Cotton seed varieties A bench led by justice Rohinton F Nariman, however, refused to stay a part of the Delhi High Court order that asked Nuziveedu to pay trait value to Monsanto, as the latter was also held to be under an obligation to supply seeds containing BT gene for the trait value fixed by the central Government. It tagged the petition with the US biotechnology major Monsanto Technologies appeal challenging the HCs May ruling that had struck down patent for the two BT Cotton seed varieties in India. The apex court also issued notice on the Federation of Seed Industry of India Supporting Monsanto Technologies case, the Federation said the impugned order has international ramifications for the agricultural biotechnology sector. It said the HC judgment is flawed and contrary to one of the fundamental principles of patent law that to determine patentability of an invention, commercial utility of the invention is irrelevant. All the cases will come up for further hearing on July 18. As a result of the HC order of May 2, the patent held by Monsanto, through its Indian arm Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech (MMBL) over its Bollgard-II BT Cotton seed technology, a genetically modified variant which resists bollworm pest, was decreed to be unenforceable in India. However, the HC had permitted MMBL to approach the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers

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