PepsiCo Sues Farmers in India for Growing Trademarked ‘Lays’ Potatoes

PepsiCo has filed lawsuits against four potato farmers in India alleging they have been “illegally” growing a variety of spud that the company has trademarked for its own Lays potato chips, CNN reports. The company’s Indian subsidiary filed the copyright infringement suits earlier this month, which are slated to go before a district court this Friday in the western state of Gujarat. “PepsiCo is India's largest process grade potato buyer and amongst the first companies to work with thousands of local farmers to grow a specific protected variety of potatoes for it,” an India-based company spokesperson told CNN Thursday. “In this instance, we took judicial recourse against people who were illegally dealing in our registered variety.” Indian farmers’ unions and retailers as well as activists have appealed to the Indian government to take action against the corporation. “We will fight it out, no matter how big the company,” said Kapil Shah of Jatan, a member of one of the advocacy groups defending the farmers. “Pepsi has made a huge mistake.”