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Monsanto accuses DuPont of copying seed technology

The agriculture giant seeks an injunction and damages in its patent infringement lawsuit

Monsanto Co. and DuPont are at it again. The two companies are back in court, this time over a Monsanto lawsuit claiming that DuPont infringed its seed technology patents.

In 2007, Monsanto released its “seed chipper” technology, which allows users to individually test seeds for genetically advantageous traits without damaging them. According to the lawsuit, DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred subsidiary quickly filed patent applications “which include crude, hastily hand-drawn figures and purport to describe and claim subject matter disclosed in Monsanto’s seed-chipper patent applications.”

Monsanto claims that Pioneer used the technology to develop its Optimum AQUAMax corn, intended for use in water-starved areas, and that it plans to expand the technology to China. Monsanto is seeking an injunction and monetary damages.

DuPont spokesman Dan Turner denied the claims, saying in a written statement that “Monsanto continues to use litigation in an attempt to limit Pioneer from being an effective competitor. This tactic has not worked in previous cases, and it will not work in this matter.”

The lawsuit is just the latest instance of legal sparring between the rival companies. In 2009, Monsanto sued DuPont for allegedly infringing patents on herbicide-resistant seeds. And in 2011, the chemical giant fired back with its own lawsuit, claiming that Monsanto infringed DuPont patents for “enhancing the vigor of maize seed.”

For the victor, though, all those legal fees will be worth it: Bloomberg reports that U.S. farm net income may reach $91.7 billion in 2012, the second-highest total on record.

Read more on the story at Bloomberg.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of Monsanto, read:

Organic growers appeal case against Monsanto

Federal judge dismisses farmers’ class action suit against Monsanto

Monsanto poisoned French farmer, court rules

Monsanto will appeal French court’s poisoning verdict

DuPont sues Monsanto over corn-growing technology

Alanna Byrne

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