Nuziveedu Seeds not to budge on intellectual property row with Monsanto

India's homegrown seeds company Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL) is taking on US multinational Monsanto over the latter cheating on intellectual property rights on genetically modified (GM) cotton and is in no mood to settle the long-standing dispute any time soon without proper redressal.

While some other Indian companies such as Ajeet Seeds, Kaveri Seeds Co Ltd and Ankur Seeds have agreed to resolve differences and end their arbitration proceedings with Monsanto, Nuziveedu seeds said it wants a logical end to the dispute.

Monsanto is also yet to settle dispute with Sri Rama Agri Genetics, Amar Biotech and NSL along with two group companies, Prabhat Agri Biotech and Pravardhan Seeds.

''We do not want to compromise,'' Narne Murali Krishna, a company secretary of NSL, said on the phone from Hyderabad, the capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. ''On the IPR (intellectual property rights) matter, we'll continue with our legal case in the Delhi High Court.''

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) (MMB), a joint venture between Monsanto and local firm Mahyco, licenses a gene that produces its own pesticide to more than 45 local cotton seed companies in lieu of royalties and an upfront payment.

And, despite a local law that excludes seeds from being patented, Monsanto continued to collect royalties from Indian seed companies year-after-year after an initial payment to use its technology.

Reports quoting M Prabhakara Rao, president of the National Seed Association of India (NSAI) and chairman and managing director of Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL), said Monsanto should now refund all the royalties it collected unduely from Indian companies.

The agriculture ministry had intervened following complaints by some local seed companies that MMB's royalties were too high, and had directed the multinational to respect regulations and stop profiteering.

Missouri-based Monsanto, which is being bought by Germany's Bayer for $66 billion, has been at loggerheads with the seed firms and it now plays the victim saying the royalty loss costs it tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue a year.

''Based on the advice of competent IPR lawyers and communications of Monsanto with the Indian patent office, NSL realised that it was cheated by MMB's false representations and claims on IPR,'' Krishna said.

According to Prabhakara Rao, Monsanto should never have been allowed to collect royalties after an initial payment to use its technology. At the very least, Rao added, prices should have been set by the government.

''Since we first signed the licensing agreement with Monsanto in 2004, we have paid Rs709 crore ($109.59 million), which Monsanto should refund to NSL,'' Krishna said.

According to Monsanto, however, ''NSL has already collected the royalty fee from India's cotton farmers. Instead of honouring the mutually agreed bilateral contract, it continues to default on payments rightfully due to MMB.''