No More Syngenta Roundup Ready Soybeans?

Monsanto requests termination of Syngenta's Roundup Ready soybean license and challenges Syngenta's access to Monsanto's biotech corn. Compiled by staff

Published on: Jul 28, 2004

Monsanto Company yesterday expanded a breach-of-contract lawsuit and is now seeking damages and termination of the Roundup Ready soybean license that Monsanto originally granted to Ciba-Geigy Corp., one of Syngenta's corporate predecessors.

"We've built our business on two commitments," says Carl Casale, executive vice president of Monsanto. "The first is to develop innovative, value-added products that help our farmer customers become more competitive and profitable while protecting the environment. The second is to offer farmers more choices by broadly licensing these products to seed companies.

"There are obligations that all parties must respect in order to properly license these value-added biotechnology products," Casale says. "Unfortunately, Syngenta has chosen not to live up to these obligations, so we must act to protect our rights and those of our other licensees."

Monsanto filed the amended complaint under seal in Missouri state circuit court in St. Louis County on July 27. The company's original breach-of- contract lawsuit was filed in this court on May 10, 2004, and asked that the court determine that Syngenta is limited by its license from Monsanto to commercializing Roundup Ready soybeans under one product brand.

Also yesterday, a Monsanto subsidiary initiated a patent infringement lawsuit in Illinois federal court to enjoin Syngenta Seeds, Inc., from developing, using and selling herbicide-tolerant corn seed such as Monsanto's GA21 Roundup Ready corn product.

This lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Rockford for infringement of patents issued to DEKALB Genetics Corporation, now a Monsanto subsidiary. Monsanto via DEKALB is requesting an injunction preventing Syngenta and its agents from further infringement of these patents, which cover inventions relating to glyphosate-tolerant transgenic corn.

These latest legal actions taken by Monsanto are in addition to an existing patent-infringement suit Monsanto filed against Syngenta in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., on May 12 for violation of a Monsanto patent related to glyphosate-tolerant plants.