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Monsanto Claims Victory In Seed Fight

Monsanto Co. said Jan. 19 a Federal Court had ruled in its favour in a bitter dispute with key rival DuPont, finding DuPont had violated a licensing agreement in trying to combine certain genetic seed traits developed by Monsanto with its own.

DuPont officials said the court decision was “narrow” allowing them to continue to press antitrust allegations against Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, while not deterring plans to commercialize a new soybean seed later this decade.

“We’re going to move ahead because the case isn’t over yet,” said DuPont spokesman Doyle Karr.

Monsanto sued DuPont last May, saying its agricultural unit, Pioneer Hi-bred Internat ional , was act ing outside the scope of a licensing agreement by combining Monsanto’s Roundup Ready genetic trait with DuPont’s Optimum GAT genetic traits in corn or soybeans.

Monsanto claimed DuPont wanted to use the Roundup Ready trait , which makes plants tolerant of Roundup weed-killing treatments, to mask problems with the effectiveness of DuPont’s Optimum GAT trait in a new soybean seed.

“The court ruled that the Monsanto-DuPont licence agreements ‘are unambiguous and do not grant Pioneer the right to stack’ the Roundup Ready trait with the Optimum GAT trait,” said Scott Partridge, chief deputy general counsel for Monsanto.

But DuPont counter-sued Monsanto last year, saying the company was acting illegally to control the agricultural seed market by limiting competition.

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