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Dueling lawsuits between DuPont and BASF

Agriculture.com Staff 06/04/2009 @ 2:33pm

Agricultural seed and chemical companies continue to churn out lawsuits against each other. The latest go-round concerns DuPont and BASF suing each other over the same products.

Earlier this week, DuPont filed a lawsuit claiming BASF is infringing four patents relating to biotechnology traits similar to those used in DuPont's Optimum GAT trait. The patents listed in the lawsuit confer tolerance to an herbicide class with excellent environmental characteristics known as ALS inhibitors and pertain to certain methods for controlling weeds. The lawsuit was filed in U.S Federal Court in the District of Delaware.

Through the lawsuit, DuPont is requesting BASF acknowledge the validity of DuPont's patents related to the ALS tolerance trait and provide the company reasonable compensation for their use. DuPont is also asking the court to declare BASF patents on a trait promoter invalid and rule that DuPont does not infringe those patents when it uses its own proprietary trait in ALS tolerant crops.

"We respect valid intellectual property claims of others and expect them to do the same," said DuPont group vice president James C. Borel in a press release. "At the same time, we have a responsibility to challenge patents that have no validity. It was only after efforts to seek clarity from BASF failed that we decided to take today's action."

Meanwhile, BASF filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware against DuPont for infringement of BASF's patented technology that confers tolerance to a class of herbicides. Specifically, DuPont's Optimum GAT corn product incorporates BASF's patented promoter, which is an important genetic component that enables successful tolerance toward an herbicide class known as AHAS or ALS inhibitors.

BASF Plant Science GmbH is seeking an injunction and damages against DuPont and its subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International for what it says is unlawful use of BASF's patented technology. In the same action, BASF Plant Science seeks to declare invalid and unenforceable DuPont patents for technology relating to herbicide tolerance.

"After prolonged discussions with DuPont failed to yield an acceptable commercial solution, BASF decided to enforce its rights by filing this lawsuit," said Hans Kast, BASF Plant Science President and CEO, in a press release.

Agricultural seed and chemical companies continue to churn out lawsuits against each other. The latest go-round concerns DuPont and BASF suing each other over the same products.

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