W.P.(C) 3556/2017 and CM Nos. 15578/2017, 15579/2017 & 35943/2017
Section 3(5),26 of the Companies Act , Section 19(1)(a),27, 62 of the Competition Act, Section 84 of the Patents Act
The case is related to the high-trait fees charged by MMBL and the other arbitrary terms and conditions imposed by it for using the technology in manufacturing Bt. Cotton Seeds. Monsanto is a company engaged in developing and commercialising technology for producing genetically modified seeds. It holds a portfolio of patents, trademarks and licenses. It is stated that Monsanto was the first company to develop and commercialise Bt. Cotton Technology (Bollgard-I). The technology is aimed at genetically modifying hybrid seeds to in still a particular trait - resistance to bollworms.
MMBL is a company incorporated in India and is part of the Monsanto group inasmuch as it is a joint venture company between MHPL (which is a 100 subsidiary of Monsanto) and Mahyco. Further, MHPL also holds 26% equity in Mahyco.
CCI has jurisdiction to entertain a plea related to patent act, if CCI has right then CCI can provide the remedies for the same. CCI has the power to pass order in respect of abuse of dominant position by any enterprise under the Competition Act. There is a conflict between the Competition Act and the Patent Act.
The High Court of Delhi observed that legislative intent is pretty clear when it comes to section 62 of the Competition Act. The court further observed that remedies available against abuse of dominant position with CCI in section 27 of Competition Act and section 84 of the Patents Act are materially different. So according to the court there is no conflict between the Competition and patent act. So, CCI can entertain the complaint regarding abuse of dominance in respect to patent rights.
Court concluded that there is no reason to interfere with order of CCI. It also noted that order by CCI u/s 26(1) of the Competition Act is an administrative order. It shall not be interfered with, until it is found to be arbitrary, unreasonable or against the Wednesbury principle. Only review of merits can be allowed.
Special Leave Petition