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Monsanto wins case against Pioneer; appeal planned

Jeff Caldwell 08/02/2012 @ 1:32pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The court's reached a decision and an appeal is already in the works in a case pitting 2 agribusiness giants against one another regarding a popular crop production system.

On Wednesday, the case in the U.S. District Court of Monsanto versus DuPont Pioneer was resolved, finding Pioneer infringed upon Monsanto's patent on Roundup Ready technology. The court awarded damages of $1 billion to Monsanto, a company report shows, based on "DuPont's willful infringement of its technology and the improper head start that DuPont obtained when it infringed Monsanto's technology rights."

But, though this round of the case has concluded, the decision is far from final. DuPont officials say they'll appeal the ruling "at the earliest possible opportunity and expects to overturn this verdict," a company report shows.

"DuPont believes that the evidence presented during the trial demonstrated clearly that Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybean patent is invalid and unenforceable and that Monsanto intentionally deceived the United States Patent and Trademark Office on several occasions as it sought patent protection," according to a statement from DuPont senior vice president and general counsel Thomas Sager.

Monsanto's leaders don't see it that way, though. According to that company's executive vice president and general counsel, the verdict shows it was DuPont that acted in an illicit manner to get around patent law.

"Importantly, this verdict highlights that all companies that make early and substantial investments in developing cutting edge technology will  have their intellectual property rights upheld and fairly valued," Snively said in a report from Monsanto. "This verdict also underscores that DuPont's unauthorized use of the Roundup Ready technology was both deliberate and aimed at rescuing its own failed technology."

The case, in which Monsanto also accused Pioneer of misusing patented Roundup Ready technology in the latter's own Optimum GAT technology, was originally filed in May 2009 and precedes another case, this one filed by DuPont Pioneer against Monsanto and alleging "antitrust and patent misuse." Arguments in that case are slated to begin in September 2013.

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