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GM Cotton Seed Dispute between Bayer’s Monsanto & India’s NSL Settled

The German company said in a statement to Reuters, it had resolved “outstanding issues and differences” over the dispute, giving no further details.

Sangeeta Soni

Bayer AG said that it has reached an “amicable settlement” in its Monsanto unit’s long running intellectual property dispute with Indian seed maker Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL) over genetically modified seeds.  

The German company said in a statement to Reuters that it had resolved “outstanding issues and differences” over the dispute, giving no further details. Two sources familiar with the matter said the companies had reached a legal settlement that would end all ongoing litigation. 

However, NSL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) (MMB), a joint venture between Monsanto and India’s Maharashtra Hybrid seeds Co (Mahyco) had been at loggerheads with the NSL and the Indian government over how much it could charge for its genetically modified cotton seeds. 

The dispute triggered a clutch of legal cases, antitrust investigations and orders against Monsanto from the farm ministry, costing Monsanto tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue each year and eventually drawing in the Indian and U.S. governments. 

Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd, that produces GM cotton seeds, stopped paying royalties to Monsanto in 2015, with the argument that Indian law did not grant Monsanto patent protection for the seeds. Till then the companies have been intertwined in the litigation. 

As per the sources with the direct knowledge, the companies were talking about this for more than a month, and the settlement efforts were being handled by the Bayer. 

As per an anonymous source, it was a very big dispute… this will be relief for both. 

The Bayer spokesperson said the company looked forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders for the benefit of Indian Agriculture, but did not elaborate.  

New Delhi approved the first GM cotton seed trait 2002 and an upgraded variety in 2006.  It helped transforming India into the world’s top producer and second-largest exporter of the fibre. Monsanto’s GM cotton seed technology went on to dominate 90% of India’s cotton acreage. 

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