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Recently, Bayer’s Monsanto and Indian seed maker Nuziveedu seeds have collectively decided to reach a settlement in their long-standing dispute over genetically modified cotton seeds. Bayer AG said, “We have reached an amicable settlement in our Monsanto unit's long-running intellectual property dispute with Indian seed maker Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL) over genetically modified cotton seeds.”
The German company said in a statement that it had resolved all the outstanding issues as well as differences over their long-pending dispute. No further detail was provided by the company. Two sources who were already familiar with the matter said that the companies had reached a legal settlement with an aim to put a full stop to all ongoing litigation. NSL on the other hand did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) (MMB) is a joint venture initiated by Monsanto and India's Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co (Mahyco) jointly. It had been at loggerheads with the NSL along with the Indian government over the fact that how much it could charge for its genetically modified cotton seeds. The dispute between the two triggered a bunch of legal cases including antitrust investigations and orders against Monsanto from the farm ministry. That order cost Monsantoan an amount equivalent to tens of millions of dollars that it lost in revenue each year.
One of the sources acquiring direct knowledge said in an interview that both the companies had been in talks for settling the matter out of the court for a period of more than a month. It was further stated that every kind of necessary settlement effort was being handled by Bayer only. "It was a very big dispute ... This will be a relief for both," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Bayer spokesman said, “The company looked forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders for the benefit of Indian agriculture.”
New Delhi showed green flags to the first GM cotton seed trait in the year 2003 and to an upgraded variety in the year 2006 with the sole aim to help in the transformation of India into the world's top producer and second-largest exporter of the fiber. However, the technology of Monsanto's GM cotton seed went on to dominate around 90% of the whole of India's cotton acreage.
NSL is known for producing GM cotton seeds. It allegedly stopped paying royalties to Monsanto in the year 2015. It argued in its favor that Indian law did not grant any sort of protection to Monsanto patent for the seeds. It was the starting point when both the companies have been entangled in litigation ever since.