PepsiCo To Withdraw Lawsuit Against Gujarat Potato Farmers
PepsiCo Inc. on Thursday said it will withdraw its lawsuit against four Gujarat potato farmers accused of infringing its patent.
“After discussions with the government, the company has agreed to withdraw the cases against the farmers,” a spokesperson for PepsiCo India said.
PepsiCo in April sued four farmers for cultivating a potato variety grown exclusively for its popular Lay’s potato chips.
The farmers from Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts were being sued by PepsiCo for allegedly growing a variety of potatoes for which it has claimed Plant Variety Protection rights.
The multinational giant sought damages of Rs 1 crore from each of the four farmers in its suit filed at the commercial court in Ahmedabad, and Rs 20 lakh from each of the farmers sued at a district court in Modasa town of Arvalli district.
During a hearing in the commercial court in Ahmedabad on Friday, the firm offered to settle the dispute if the farmers gave an undertaking to purchase this specific variety of seeds from the company and thereafter sell the potato produced to it.
Senior counsel Anand Yagnik, who appeared for the four farmers of Sabarkantha district, told the court he will discuss this settlement proposal with the farmers and inform the court about the outcome during the next hearing.
Over 190 activists came out in support of these farmers requesting the Union government to ask PepsiCo India to withdraw its “false” cases against Gujarat farmers.