Monsanto and DuPont continue litigation
The lawsuits between Monsanto and DuPont/Pioneer are far from settled even though the first of two trials ended with a $1 billion award to Monsanto against DuPont and Pioneer.
Monsanto sued DuPont and Pioneer in a patent infringement case, and DuPont turned around and countersued Monsanto based mainly on antitrust issues. The judge in the case decided to divide the litigation into two trials—one for patent infringement and the other based in antitrust legal context. Monsanto won a judgment in the patent infringement case during August, and a year from now the antitrust case is to begin before another jury in front of the same judge.
A jury in the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, Mo., found that DuPont and Pioneer infringed on Monsanto Company’s patented Roundup Ready seed technology as it developed and introduced its DuPont Optimum GAT seed technology. The jury award was $1 billion.
DuPont has said it will be appealing that award because it claims the damages are unjustified, particularly considering that “Pioneer never sold a single Optimum GAT [OGAT] seed and has no plans to do so in the future.”
Those with knowledge of the two cases—the one decided and under appeal and the yet to be tried case—have identified potential overlap of arguments and evidence, which seems to greatly complicate things. From the very beginning, when DuPont filed its countersuit, it requested there be one trial, and the judge decided otherwise.
That is why DuPont in its response to the patent case judgment announced, “Several aspects of Monsanto’s misconduct involving the patent, which were not tried in this case, will be presented to a different jury as part of DuPont’s antitrust and patent misuse case against Monsanto in September 2013.”
Naturally, Monsanto had an extremely upbeat announcement after winning the first phase of the litigation, and referred to more damage compensation in the future, if the appeal doesn’t change things and/or it won the second of the two trials. “The finding of willful infringement could lead to an increased award of damages in the case,” the news release noted.
MONSANTO IS UPBEAT
"Importantly, this verdict highlights that all companies that make early and substantial investments in developing cutting edge technology will have their intellectual property rights upheld and fairly valued," said David Snively, Monsanto's executive vice president and general counsel. "This verdict also underscores that DuPont's unauthorized use of the Roundup Ready technology was both deliberate and aimed at rescuing its own failed technology."
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