BHAVNAGAR-BASED CENTRAL Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), the premier laboratory for salt and marine chemicals in the country, has won two arbitration cases against a Tamil Nadu-based private firm for non-payment of Rs 13 lakh licence fees and other dues for technology obtained from the laboratory.
The firm, Prasmo Agri, used the technology and know-how to cultivate seaweed and extract bio-fertiliser and carrageenan from it. Carrageenan is a gel-forming, colouring and viscosifying polysaccharide ingredient used in the preparation of food items.
“We had no option but to invoke arbitration after it came our notice that the firm had already been successfully deploying our technologies and processes for commercial production of bio-fertiliser and carrageenan but was willfully defaulting on paying licence fees and other dues of CSMCRI,” Shibaji Ghosh, a CSMCRI scientist who represented the laboratory at the arbitration, told The Indian Express.
The CSMCRI had licensed two technologies—for cultivation of kappapychus alvarezii seaweed in seawater and integrated process for simultaneous recovery of liquid bio-fertiliser and carrageenan from fresh kappapychus alvarezii—to Prasmo in July 2013.
After initial payments, Prasmo defaulted on dues and complained that it was not satisfied with the quality of food products manufactured using CSMCRI technology. It also claimed that the details that the lab shared with it in its demonstrations had been incomplete. This despite both parties having signed certificates attesting that the demonstrations had been successful. Prasmo also demanded that CSMCRI stop competitors from using the same technology to cultivate seaweed. However, the laboratory rejected the complaint stating that it reserved the right to license the technology to others also.
Professor Vandana Bhatt, an adjunct professor with IIT Bombay and techno-legal consultant, named the sole arbitrator, declared the award in both cases in favour of CSMCRI on January 30 this year. Copies of the awards were made available on February 19.