Monsanto Co, the world’s biggest seed company, said May 5 it filed suit against chemical maker DuPont alleging unlawful use of Monsanto’s proprietary Roundup Ready herbicide-tolerant technologies in soybeans and corn.
DuPont responded by accusing Monsanto of “stifling healthy competition” and said farmers should be allowed to benefit from such technologies without restrictions.
Monsanto said its suit was filed in federal court in St Louis against DuPont and its subsidiary, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
“As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Monsanto’s chief executive officer Hugh Grant said in a statement. “However, unlawfully taking technology is neither imitation nor flattery; it is unethical and wrong.”
Monsanto said Pioneer, like other seed companies, has the right to sell soybeans and corn with the Roundup Ready trait. Pioneer has said publicly it plans to replace the Roundup Ready trait with DuPont’s claimed glyphosate-tolerant Optimum GAT trait, Monsanto said.
“However, Pioneer has recently admitted that the Optimum GAT trait when used alone presents unacceptable risks to farmers,” it said in a statement.
Monsanto’s suit says that to repair these deficiencies, Pioneer is misusing the Roundup Ready trait to mask problems with Optimum GAT.
“This violates Monsanto’s contract rights and U. S. patents,” it said in the suit, demanding DuPont honor its agreements and respect patented technologies.
DuPont spokesman Dan Turner, responding in an e-mail statement to Reuters, said the chemical company had attempted to work “in good faith” through the mediation process that Monsanto requested.
“We fundamentally disagree with Monsanto’s position that they can use their current trait monopoly to prevent the introduction of competitive seed products for U. S. growers,” he said.
“This is yet another example of Monsanto trying to flex its anti-competitive muscle in the market, by stifling healthy competition among seed producers that are looking to grow yields for those that matter most – the farmers,” he added.
Turner said it was appropriate that farmers see new options that can benefit them.