Pioneer Overseas Corporation vs chairperson, Protection of Plant varieties and Farmers rights and Ors and pioneer overseas Corporation vs Union of India and Ors, Order dated 1st July, 2019

Justice Vibhu Bakhru has passed his decision on the above mentioned writ petition vide order dated 1st July, 2019. The decision at the first level has corrected the flaws in the procedures being adopted for granting for a plant variety and for deciding opposition proceedings. But on the second level for the first time in India DNA testing have been validated for contesting ones right on a plant variety including dispute proceedings.

Background-

The main controversy is on the acceptance of Kaaveri’s application for registration of a variety of maize, referred to as KMH50  under the protection of Plant varieties and Farmers Rights Act, 2001. 

Now pioneer claims that KMH50 i.e variety of its maize is similar/identical to its variety of maize referred to as 30V92 , therefore it was argued by the counsel of pioneer that kaaveri’s variety of maize is disputed and its application cannot be accepted.

Pioneer also filed opposition and also made or shown how Kaavesri is similar to its variety of maize and it was found that both are similar to each other to 99.45% to 99.80%. Pioneer also filed and application unders section 24(5) of the Act for conduction DNA Test by the authority and also for determining the genetic similarity of KMH50 and 30V92 in support of its claim of germplasm theft. Pioneer also alleged that kaveri infringes or abused the provision of the act by making a false declaration in its application form and had deliberately provided incorrect information.

It is pertinent to mention here that no contest or counter statement was filed by the kaveri side against the opposition filed by the pioneer but challenged the order dated 09.09.2014. 

The petition were disposed off in the following terms and conditions-

  1. The impugned order dated 09.09.2014 and 27.08.2018 has been set aside.
  2. The impugned letter dated 24.06.2013 to the extent that it confirms that the kaveri’s KMH50 is eligible for the registration is set aside.
  3. Rule 29(2) of the act, 2003 makes it clear that after initial scrutiny if the Registrar is satisfied that the application is in order he shall call upon the applicant to deposit the requisite fees within a period of two months for conducting the DUS test.

Therefore it was held by the Honourable court after considering all the tests done. It was found that after conducting DUS test both the varieties of maize were not so identical when compared inter se, a meaning examination of their essential characteristics would be relevant and the mark is required to be examined.

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