The case ‘PepsiCo India vs. Gujarat Potato Farmers’ is about the lawsuits filed by PepsiCo India (PepsiCo) against nine potato farmers of Gujarat, India, for growing the FC5 variety of potato without license. PepsiCo had filed the lawsuits against the farmers alleging that they had infringed its intellectual property rights and claimed damages ranging from Rs two million to Rs ten million. PepsiCo’s legal move led to protests from farmers, farmers’ rights groups, the social media, and political parties. Faced with the massive protests, PepsiCo withdrew the lawsuits against the farmers.
The case deals with the provisions of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Right Act 2001 (PPVFR), which both PepsiCo and the farmers had relied on to put forth their claims. The reactions of the farmers and the farmer rights activists are presented in the case. The case presents a section on a note on the International Intellectual Property Law (IIPL) and the differences in the Intellectual property laws of individual countries. Eventually, the IIPL also recognizes the fact that the local law prevails over the international law in disputes relating to intellectual property. The case ends with the decision of PepsiCo India to withdraw all the lawsuits against the farmers.
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The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:
Analyze the provisions of the PPVFR Act 2001 with emphasis on farmers’ rights and plant breeders’ rights.
Analyze how international laws are different from local laws.
Understand the strategies an organization adopts when faced with competition and decrease in sales revenues.
Evaluate how an organization deals with a crisis in an international market.