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CCI orders investigation against Monsanto

In a significant development, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a detailed probe against Monsanto as it found the global agricultural giant to be violating competition law in the market of Bt cotton technology in India. The move follows a complaint filed by the agriculture ministry and three Indian seed companies.

As per the ruling passed by six out of seven members of CCI, recommends investigation against Monsanto, Monsanto Holdings (MHPL), Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco) and MMBL (Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India) for forcing anti-competitive agreements and abusing their dominant position in the country's Bt cotton seeds market.

According to the fair trade regulator, the termination conditions of the sub-license agreement entered in between MMBL and the informants are found to be excessively harsh and do not appear to be reasonable as may be necessary for protecting any of the intellectual property rights… Such agreements discourage and serve as a major deterrent for the sub-licensee from exploring dealing with competitors.