Pepsi vs. Indian Potato Farmers: Food Litigation Today

by: The Knowledge Group

May 13, 2019


PepsiCo’s subsidiary in India dropped its lawsuit against local farmers for growing a breed of potatoes the company claims to own. According to reports, PepsiCo, owner of Lay’s, took in about $65 billion in revenue last year. The company had sued for $143,000 from each of multiple farmers who run a few acres each.

Earlier, PepsiCo India Holdings pressed the farmers to resolve the suit by becoming authorized PepsiCo cultivators of the “registered” potatoes. Activists, in turn, pressed PepsiCo India to drop the case.

Dispute Over Plant Varietal Rights

The Indian Ministry of Agriculture received a letter with 194 signatures demanding aid and protection for small farmers who are under intense pressure for producing a potato variety called FC-5. PepsiCo claims to have held exclusive intellectual property rights in India for FC-5 potatoes since 2016.

The signatories, who come from farmers’ unions, seed and food activism projects, human rights groups, and the agricultural media slammed the suit as “vexatious litigation” that sought to uphold an unjustifiable claim of plant breeding rights.

The Indian farmers’ allies have invoked small farm operators’ rights under India’s Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act of 2001.

The Food Court: CLE in Food Litigation With The Knowledge Group

Join us for our upcoming webcast on food litigation.

The lunchtime webcast on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, will offer insights on lawsuits in the food and beverage arena. Labels, advertising claims, and intellectual property all come into play here. Key concepts in this CLE will include some of the following hot issues:

  • Cases involving U.S. and global companies.
  • Food litigation strategies.
  • Trademark, patent, and other intellectual property rights.
  • PR vs. protection of profits.
  • Mitigation of risk.
  • The future of food litigation.

This session will be useful for decision makers in the food and beverage sphere. In-house lawyers or those with clients in the industry will benefit from this timely, informative CLE as well. Marketing and advertising strategists, risk and compliance directors, and senior management all need to know what may lie ahead on this landscape.