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Lay's lawsuit update: PepsiCo lays down arms in controversial fight with Indian potato farmers

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

PepsiCo India has announced it is withdrawing the lawsuit against the Indian potato farmers for alleged patent infringement. Pic: PepsiCo/©GettyImages/mariumFM77
PepsiCo India has announced it is withdrawing the lawsuit against the Indian potato farmers for alleged patent infringement. Pic: PepsiCo/©GettyImages/mariumFM77

Related tags: Lay's, Lawsuit, India

PepsiCo is withdrawing the lawsuit against the Gujurat farmers for allegedly growing a registered potato varietal it exclusively uses for its Lay’s chips.

Amid growing backlash, the snacking giant has dropped the lawsuit filed last month in the Ahmedabad civil court against the four farmers for alleged infringement of a patent by cultivating the proprietary FC5 varietal.

“After discussions with the [Indian] government, the company has agreed to withdraw cases against farmers,”​ said a PepsiCo India spokesperson.

“We are relying on the said discussions to find a long term and an amicable resolution of all issues around seed protection.

“The company remains deeply committed to the thousands of farmers we work with across the country and towards ensuring adoption of best farming practices.”

PepsiCo had offered to settle with the farmers, but found itself under increasing pressure from agricultural unions and activists to drop the suit – including the influential Hindu nationalist group with close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Prime Minister Modi is currently in the throes of a national election seeking a second term and the farming sector is an essential voting base for him.

The sector has been hard hit with poverty and, as part of his election campaign, he has promised to double farmer’s incomes by 2022 and provide pensions to small farmers over the age of 60.

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