March 18, 2015


Monsanto in legal battle with DuPont over gene-gun technology


In yet another development contributing to a history of legal tussles between Monsanto and DuPont, the latter had launched a lawsuit, alleging that Monsanto did not fulfil royalty payments over a gene-gun technology employed in developing herbicide-resistant soybeans.


Filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery, US, the lawsuit attempts to apply a 2012 arbitration decision in which Monsanto is obligated to pay royalties for the Biolistic gene-gun technology, Delaware Online reported. While initial payments, of about US$33.3 million, were made, DuPont alleges that Monsanto did not do so for further payments.


The actual amount owed remains unclear, but DuPont's attorney claimed that, in legal filings, it would be "several million dollars".


A Monsanto spokeswoman expressed surprise that DuPont is suing for royalties of "less than US$7 million and over a dispute that has been silent for two years".


The current trouble between both companies began in 2008, with disputes over a 1992 commercial agreement concerning DuPont's Biolistic technology. Monsanto argued that expiration of several patents on the gene-gun in 2007 means it is no longer required to pay DuPont. 


In 2012, an arbitration panel ordered payments to be made by Monsanto to DuPont until the end of that year, legal documents stated. However, final payments for Biolistic's application on South American crops were not fulfilled by Monsanto, DuPont said.


According to DuPont, the Biolistic process inserts genetic material into living cells by accelerating tiny particles coated with the genetic material via a gene gun. The goal is to install specific genes into targeted plant genes, thus setting off a generation of crops bearing desired traits.

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