DuPont sues Monsanto over corn-growing technology

Company claims Monsanto infringed seed-improvement patent

Rival companies DuPont and Monsanto are battling again on the legal stage. This time, DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred unit filed a lawsuit against Monsanto over the alleged infringement of two patents for producing more vigorous corn seed.

The two patents, according to the lawsuit, cover a method “of enhancing the vigor of maize seeds” by defoliating the plant before harvesting.  While Pioneer claims Monsanto has been using their approach and seeks reimbursement, Monsanto says its production fields do not use DuPont’s technology to improve corn and called the suit “baseless” and “without merit” in a statement.

“The filing appears to be another in a serious of frivolous claims initiated by DuPont against our business,” Monsanto wrote. “We will defend our business against this latest attack.”

Pioneer is aiming to block Monsanto from using patented methods in the future, and alleges Monsanto has been using the patents at its Constantine, Mich., research site. In the suit, Pioneer called the alleged infringement “willful” and “deliberate.”

The companies have traded lawsuits since 1999, when DuPont bought Pioneer. Most recently, Monsanto accused DuPont in a 2009 case of infringing patents for seeds that repel the effects of Roundup, an herbicide. The two are also involved in an ongoing court battle regarding a licensing agreement.

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