NEW DELHI (Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc has agreed to withdraw lawsuits against Indian potato farmers it alleged infringed a patent by cultivating a variety grown exclusively for its Lay’s potato chips.

FILE PHOTO: A customer picks packets of Lay’s potato chips at a shop in Ahmedabad, India, April 26, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave

The U.S. snack food and drinks maker, which in addition to filing the lawsuit against the four farmers in April had sued five other potato growers, had said it wanted to settle the issue amicably.

“After discussions with the government, the company has agreed to withdraw the cases against the farmers,” a PepsiCo India spokesman said on Thursday, adding that this applied to all nine.

The decision comes at a particularly sensitive time in

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