Market Intelligence: Intellectual Property Rights – Indian Agriculture

By Dr. Kalyan Goswami – CIMGlobal Head – Association Consulting

Agriculture is the lifeline of Indian economy. More than 50% of the population depends on agriculture for their living and the entire population of the country depends on agriculture for food. But the Contribution of Agriculture in India’s GDP is only 16-17%. This is due to the lack of Technological development in Indian Agriculture, where foreign organizations having better Technologies in hand can do a splendid job in this country.

Seeds and Plant varieties excluded from Patent Act. Section 3 of Patent Act lists out “inventions not patentable” which is reproduced below.

  • Section 3 (c) of the Indian Patent Act excluded from patentability mere discovery of a scientific principle or the formulation of an abstract theory or discovery of any living thing or non-living substance occurring in nature.
  • Section 3(h) of the Indian Patent Act excludes from patentability a method of agriculture or horticulture.
  • Section 3(j) of the Indian Patent Act excludes from patentability plants and animals in whole or any part thereof other than microorganisms but including seeds, varieties and species and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals.

India enacted a sui generis IPR law viz., the Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 to grant intellectual property rights to the breeders of plant varieties including farmers. Farmers also have rights to use and market without branding their farm produced seeds of the protected plant variety. Agriculture related activities and aspects like seeds, plant varieties etc., are kept out of the purview of the Patent Act of India,

The Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act, 2001 (PPVFR Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India that was enacted to provide for the establishment of an effective system for protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders, and to encourage the development and cultivation of new varieties of plants. The PPV&FR Act, 2001 was enacted to grant intellectual property rights to plant breeders, researchers and farmers who have developed any new or extant plant varieties. The Intellectual Property Right granted under PPV&FR Act, 2001 is a dual right – one is for the variety and the other is for the denomination assigned to it by the breeder. The rights granted under this Act are heritable and assignable and only registration of a plant variety confers the right. Essentially Derived Varieties (EDV) can also be registered under this Act and it may be new or extant.