(MON) Monsanto Wins Lawsuit – Saves Patent

Monsanto Co. (MON), the world’s largest seed company, announced that it won another lawsuit against Indiana soybean farmer, Vernon Bowman. In 2007, the company sued the soybean farmer, accusing him of patent infringement for planting and saving seeds containing Monsanto’s genetically altered Roundup Ready technology.

As per Bowman, he bought the seeds as part of a mix of commodity seeds. In its court proceedings, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington issued a verdict toward protecting Monsanto’s patented seeds from being sold in a mix of undifferentiated “commodity” seeds.

The “commodity” seeds are grown in the farms that use Roundup Ready technology as well as in the farms without the use of such technology. These seeds are also not tolerant with the round up ready technology. Hence, no licensing agreements are required with the sale of such seeds.

Whereas, Roundup Ready seeds of the company are tolerant toward the spray treatments of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and the company restricts the use of its licensed Roundup Ready seed to a single commercial crop season. The court found that according to the technology agreements, Monsanto needs to save its patent forbidding farmers from selling the progeny of Roundup Ready seeds.

The court case revealed that Bowman planted Roundup Ready seeds as his first-crop in each growing season from 1999-2007 and did not save crops seeds complying with the company’s licensing agreements. Rather he purchased commodity seeds from a local grain elevator for a late-season planting of “second-crop.”

Moreover, the Indiana farmer applied glyphosate to his second soybean crops, which helped him identify herbicide-resistant plants, from which he saved seed for the subsequent years of second-crop planting.

However, Bowman argued in his favor that the patent rights of Roundup Ready soybean seeds that are present in grain elevators as undifferentiated commodity seed were already exhausted. But the argument stood void by the court and Bowman’s act was marked as an infringement of Monsanto’s patent by Bowman. The court affirmed the award of damages to Monsanto, set already by a lower court at $84,456.

Of late, Evogene Ltd. and Monsanto Company announced a successful completion of the third year of their research and development collaboration. During these three years, Evogene utilized its computational genomics technology to discover genes, predict, and provide validation in model plants. A number of the genes discovered by Evogene are thus currently undergoing evaluation in the target crops of Monsanto’s research and development venture. Going forward, the two companies aim to discover newer genes while enhancing crop yield for farmers in corn, soybean, cotton and canola.

Missouri-based Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a leading global provider of agricultural products for farmers in the United States and internationally. Monsanto’s biotechnology research and rich product pipeline provides strong competition to its peers, such as The Dow Chemical Company (DOW), Syngenta AG (SYT), The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (SMG), BASF (BASFY).

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