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Court Rules For Monsanto, DuPont Considers Antitrust Case

January 19, 2010
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According to the Associated Press, the courts have ruled in favor of Monsanto, ruling that DuPont violated its contract with Monsanto by developing genetically modified soybeans created with Monsanto''s technology. However, the door is still open for DuPont to challenge the contract on antitrust grounds. The ruling in St. Louis federal court is the latest turn in a lawsuit between the world''s two biggest seed companies. At issue is how much freedom Monsanto Co.''s competitors have to develop crops containing their own biotech traits using Monsanto''s patented Roundup Ready gene, which is inserted in the vast majority of U.S. corn and soybean crops. Monsanto sued DuPont last spring, claiming it was illegal for DuPont to sell its new line of biotech seeds called Optimum GAT. That line of seeds adds a new DuPont gene to the older line of Roundup Ready corn and soybean plants that DuPont developed under a license with Monsanto. U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber said in the ruling that Monsanto''s licensing agreement clearly prohibits DuPont from inserting its Optimum GAT gene into corn and soybean plants with Monsanto traits. But Webber said his ruling was narrow, and didn''t consider whether Monsanto has the right under antitrust laws to restrict how competitors breed and sell plants with Monsanto traits. DuPont is challenging its licensing agreement with Monsanto on antitrust grounds, in the midst of a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation into Monsanto that is examining whether there is anticompetitive behavior in the seed industry.
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