NEW DELHI, Jan. 11 -- Monsanto's legal proceedings against domestic seed companies will go down in history as one of the toughest Intellectual Property battles ever fought. One therefore expected a substantive ruling from the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, that was not to be. The court ruled on Monday that the meat of the matter - the validity of the patent - will have to be decided by the trial court, and returned it to the Delhi High Court. However, in a relative victory for Monsanto, it ruled that the Delhi HC order invalidating Monsanto's patent was wrong in law.

To summarise the origins of this dispute, Monsanto entered into licensing arrangements with Nuziveedu Seeds and a number of Indian seed companies that wished to use their paten...