ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Two Countries, One Corporation and Its Intellectual Property Rights

Monsanto is known to throw tantrums when it does not get the kind of protection it wants from governments for its intellectual property assets, threatening to leave countries if they do not provide it. This has happened in Argentina and now in India. These may look like country-specific disputes on genetically modified seed technologies, but there is much more than what meets the eye.

In a country known for its popular protests against United States (US)-based transnational corporation (TNC) Monsanto Inc, it is notable when newspaper headlines report that the TNC is ­acting “in protest”.1 So it was when Monsanto withdrew its application that sought the ­approval of Indian authorities for its latest proprietary technology in genetically modified (GM) cottonseed.

Monsanto markets its GM technology in India through a broad licensing model via Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Ltd (MMBL), a joint venture between Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co Ltd (Mahyco) and Monsanto Holdings Pvt Ltd. In 2002, it first obtained approval for BG I GM cotton in India. Later, in 2006, it applied to the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) and obtained approval for its two-protein Bollgard® II insect protection cotton trait technology.2

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