The St. Louis Federal Court has ruled that DuPont was not licensed to combine Monsanto's Roundup Ready trait with the Optimum GAT trait in corn or soybeans.
"The Court ruled that the Monsanto-DuPont license 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. "DuPont negotiated and signed a contract with a specific set of rights, at the financial terms they preferred, and the rights did not include making this stacked combination."
The court record shows that DuPont was authorized to create any stacked trait product with our Roundup Ready technology other than one such as OGAT. DuPont has always had the rights to create a stacked product such as Roundup Ready with its Plenish High Oleic soybean oil product, or adding a second herbicide tolerance mode like its proprietary ALS-herbicide-tolerance combined with Roundup Ready.
"Importantly, the court's ruling follows well-established patent and contract law by recognizing the rights of the technology developer and reinforcing that contractual rights should be respected," said Partridge. "Now that the fundamental issue in this case has been decided, we look forward to rapidly concluding the balance of this litigation."
In another case involving Monsanto, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it has granted Monsanto's petition for review of a federal district court order which halted planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2007, pending completion of an environmental impact statement by USDA.
"USDA's regulatory approval process was short-circuited without any hearing to consider the views of impacted farmers and consideration of sound science," said Stephen Welker, Monsanto Alfalfa and Sugarbeet Lead. "We view the Supreme Court's action to hear our appeal as important for American farmers and look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court in the coming months. We believe alfalfa growers deserve choice in the products that are available to them."
Monsanto filed the petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in Oct. 2009, arguing that the 2007 injunction by Judge Charles Breyer should not have been ordered without first holding an evidentiary hearing. As a result, the ban imposed unnecessary restrictions and costs on alfalfa hay and seed growers. Monsanto and Forage Genetics petitioned the appellate court twice between 2007 and 2008 to fully consider the scientific evidence and tailor any relief ordered pending the governmental agency completion of an EIS.
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service completed a draft EIS in late 2009 and recently announced the 60-day open comment period for the draft EIS would occur between Dec. 18, 2009, and Feb. 16, 2010. For more information on Roundup Ready alfalfa, including how to submit a comment to USDA, please visit www.roundupreadyalfalfa.com.