The status of patents protecting plant technologies in India is unclear following recent decisions, as Disha Jeswani explains.
Plant breeders need to protect their genetically modified (GM) plants to compensate for the high levels of investment in developing plants with desired genotypic and/or phenotypic traits. In India, GM plants enjoy plant variety protection and, to a certain extent, patent protection. However, a recent decision of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) refusing Monsanto’s patent on a method for obtaining shock-resistant plants has made patent protection an unclear issue in India.
Plants or parts of plants and essentially biological methods for propagation of plants are not patentable in India. Similarly, methods of agriculture/horticulture and discovery of isolated genetic sequences from plants or used in plants are not patentable. The guidelines for examination of biotechnology applications for patents specify the relevant provisions relating to non-patentability of genetically modified plants in the Indian Patents Act along with illustrations.
Patent, India, Plant technology, GM