The Transformative Impact Of Patents In Empowering Farmers Andagriculture
Patent means granting exclusive authority to the inventor, who has invented something new and this new invention has introduced a new method, process or solution to an existing problem. In simpler words a patent is granted to a person and he gets exclusive rights for the invention this exclusive right gives the inventor the sole right to make, use and sell this invention for a specified period of time. The factor of ‘exclusivity’ when patenting an invention along with having legal significance also serves as an incentive for further innovation, encouraging continuous enhancement of technology and knowledge.
Which Sectors Have The Most Patents
The industries leading in the greatest number of patents is firstly the energy sector that is followed by the industrial sector and the technology and research sector have the lions share when it comes to number of patents that are filed by them. This comes as no surprise as all the above-mentioned sectors heavily rely upon their research and development (R&D) departments as with the growing population needs of the general population also increase and hence there needs to be a development in technology and the inventions have to be made in a holistic manner that is the invention along with being new must be of a smaller size, the chips and processors inside must be more powerful, they be efficient and yet also be cost-effective. To cover all the mentioned criteria applies a great application of mind and hence these sectors seek to patent their inventions in order to protect their idea and most importantly create a sense of competition in the market as well.
Patents And Food Recepies
The technology, energy and industrial sector are very patent heavy sectors however, what about other industries such as the food industry, Various fast food companies protect their brand name and the design of their logos via copyright and by trademarks. How about the recipe, For instance let’s take the ‘original fried chicken’ recipe of KFC is that patented, the answer is No, it is a trade secret. To answer the main question that is a recipe treated as a intellectual property and can it be patented, the answer is Yes a recipe is very much allowed to be patented.
Patents & Banana Biscuits
Notable for its rich volcanic soil, the Maharashtra district of Jalgaon is a major center for farmers engaged in the production and sale of bananas and cotton. This region is well-known for its agricultural prowess and makes up for more than 11% of the country's total banana production, highlighting its importance in the agricultural landscape.Regardless of having agricultural advantage, the cultivation of banana is still not exactly as one would define a profitable venture, Owing to its short-shelf life along with low prices at which the fruit is sold, Moreover maximum time a lot of the produce also goes to waste farmers who are engaged in this business do not earn a lot of profit and hence find it difficult to make ends meet. From the same region farmer Ashok Gade who quit law to become a farmer was facing the same issues, hence to tackle the problems and instead of selling the fruit it directly in the market, Ashok Gade and his wife came up with many methods to process the food which in turn increased its shelf life and also turned it from a fruit into a value-added product. The couple manufactures a variety of banana-based products and this year the central government granted them the patent for their banana biscuit recipe.
To get one’s intellectual property patented under the Indian Patent’s Act 1970. One must keep in mind the three steps that requires to be fulfilled for an invention to be patented.
• The invention should have an inventive step
• It should not be published anywhere in India
• It should not be claimed in any specification in India
Alon with this the invention in this case the recipe should not be in contravention of Section 3(e) of the Indian Patents Act. Section 3(e) states that “a substance obtained by a mere admixture resulting only in the aggregation of the properties of the components thereof or a process for producing such substance;”
Further Ashik Gades recipe for the banana biscuits also fulfills the 3 basic requirements of
• Novelty: This recipe is rather new in the market as there are many biscuits but very few are fruit based and many of them contain artificial fruit coloring and flavoring.
• Industrial Application: This recipe for the banana biscuits has changed the lives of not only the couple bur also fifty other farmers. This is because of the factor of value addition the products are sold at three to four times to that of the original fruit earlier which in turn also makes them a huge profit, and now Ashok gade wants to collaborate with fifty other farmers in his area, thus bringing a significant change in his village.
• Non-Obviousness- This recipe is non-obvious as it is simply not a mixture of raw ingredients, there is processing of the fruit, baking of the biscuits, packing of the finished product and moreover there is an increase in the overall shelf life of the original product.
Other Laws Upholding Intellectual Property Of Farmers
Apart from patents there is also the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Authority (PPA & FRA) established under Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Authority Act, 2001. This act majorly protects the intellectual property rights of individuals who are involved in the agricultural scenario. Recently the Delhi High Court revoked PepsiCo India’s claimed patent over a specific type of potato which is used by the company for their lay’s chips. This court relied and upheld the ruling given by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Authority, The ruling given by the PPA & FRA has also quashed the intellectual property that was granted to PepsiCo.
This case goes back to 2019 when PepsiCo India filed a lawsuit in 2019 against farmers who were cultivating a unique potato used in Lay's chips. The lawsuit claimed IPR infringement and initially sought a sizable amount for settlement. The corporation came under criticism and dropped the charges,Further arguments resulted from Kavitha Kuruganti, a farmers' rights activist, accusing PepsiCo of utilizing a private intelligence firm for surveillance of farmers and what kind of seeds they use, their cultivation techniques and etc.FL 2027, a unique potato that was developed in 1996, is perfect for chips because of its lower moisture content. In 2009, PepsiCo registered it in India and began contract farming with farmers. Kuruganti, argued that ‘seeds’ are not patentable in India, filed a petition to cancel PepsiCo's IPR. PepsiCo's registration was withdrawn by the PPVFRA in 2021.In May 2022, PepsiCo filed an appeal with the Delhi High Court against the cancellation and rejection of FL 2027's registration. The PPVFRA's ruling was affirmed by the court on July 5, noting errors in PepsiCo's application. PepsiCo misrepresented the date of December 17, 2009, as the commercialization date of FL 2027, which is essential for new variety registration. The potato had already been commercialized in Chile in 2002, the court noted in 2009. PepsiCo violated Indian legal disclosure standards by certifying a product based on false information. Due to PepsiCo's incorrect registration of FL 2027, the court ruled against them.
This recent judgment has been highlighted as a ‘Big Win for the Farmers’.
PATENTS ACT 1970 Vs. PROTECTION OF PLANT VARIETIES AND FARMER’S RIGHTS AUTHORITY ACT, 2001 WHICH IS BETTER FOR FARMERS?
The Patents Act 1970 and the Protection Of Plant Varieties And Farmer’s Rights Authority Act, 2001 represent two distinct legal frame works that have a similar goal of protecting intellectual property rights of individuals and the inventions that they come up with. Both acts foster creativity and incentivize people to come up with novel inventions, Both acts promote fair competition in the market. In the end it is a subjective choice of the farmer to choose which act applies best to his product/invention.
[Image Sources: Shutterstock]
The Patents Act, 1970 is more inclining towards protecting innovations in general with the amendment of 2005 now the term ‘innovation’ has a broad ambit which now encompasses food recipes as well. However, the maximum amount of patents are still filed and granted to the technological and the power sectors. Therefore, this act is suitable for innovations in general and even though has a wide ambit is more suitable for technological developments. Patents also provide a strict protection that is for the next twenty years no individual can use, sell or import your idea without the inventor’s prior permission.
On the other hand, the Protection Of Plant Varieties And Farmer’s Right Act, 2001 is specially designed to safeguard different plant species. It guarantees equitable payment for farmers and breeders and seeks to promote the creation of new plant kinds. Farmers are permitted to continue conventional agricultural methods including storing, utilizing, sowing, sharing, or selling farm produce, including seeds of a protected variety, as long as they follow the terms of this legislation. This act however does not provide as strict protection as patents.
The final choice rests in the hands of the farmers that is if the innovation that is done pertains to plant varieties, seeds or plant breeding then the Protection Of Plant Varieties And Farmer’s Right Act, 2001 is appropriate due to the flexibility it provides. However, if the farmers have come up with anew innovation such as a recipe that is novel of nature and this can have a positive industrial impact and if long-term exclusivity is essential to preventing unlawful use and innovation goes beyond plant breeding, the Patents Act would be more appropriate.
In conclusion, by giving inventors exclusive rights, patents benefit farmers and the agricultural industry. The story of Ashok Gade getting a patent for his recipe for banana biscuits serves as an example of how farming innovation may enhance farmers' lives and yield financial rewards. Although patents are common in fields like technology and energy, the food business is starting to recognize the value of patents, especially when it comes to recipes.Furthermore, laws such as the Farmer's Rights Authority Act, 2001 and the Protection of Plant Varieties Act, 2001 support farmers' intellectual property rights, guarantee just compensation, and encourage innovation in plant breeding. Depending on the type of innovation, one may choose between the Patents Act of 1970 and the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer's Rights Authority Act of 2001; the former offers more protection while the latter gives farmers more flexibility. All together, these legal tools support and empower agricultural innovation and intellectual property protection of farmers
Author : Vishnu Vardhan, in case of any query, contact us at Global Patent Filing or write back us via email at email@example.com.
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