Court affirms sanctions against DuPont in battle with Monsanto

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

U.S. chemical maker DuPont and its agricultural seed unit, Pioneer, acted in bad faith in a long-running legal battle with rival Monsanto Co, according to a federal appeals court ruling on Friday that affirmed sanctions against DuPont.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with a lower court decision in Missouri that sided with Monsanto in a dispute over DuPont's use of Monsanto's patented seed technology that makes certain crops able to tolerate glyphosate-based herbicide.

The appeals court ruling said the lower court was correct in finding that "DuPont had abused the judicial process and acted in bad faith," and should be sanctioned for its conduct. The court found that DuPont's actions did not rise to the level of "fraud on the court," however.

Friday's ruling did not specify the amount of sanctions, but they are to cover Monsanto's attorneys fees.

Monsanto had little to say about the latest turn in the five-year-old court battle.

"The decision speaks for itself," said Monsanto spokesman Thomas Helscher.

"We are disappointed in the decision reached by the Federal Circuit today in the now-concluded litigation with Monsanto," said DuPont spokesman Dan Turner. "It is important to note, however, that the appellate panel agreed with our long-standing position that we did not commit fraud on the court."

A jury in the U.S. District Court in St. Louis in 2012 ordered DuPont to pay Monsanto $1 billion in damages for violating a 2002 licensing agreement between the two companies. But last year, DuPont said it would pay Monsanto $1.75 billion in a new licensing deal that threw out the jury award.

That deal allowed DuPont to appeal the sanctions, however, which DuPont did, leading to Friday's ruling.

Monsanto filed suit against DuPont and its Pioneer unit in May 2009, citing the unlicensed use of the so-called Roundup Ready trait. It said DuPont violated the licensing agreement when it tried to develop a new product that stacked its own technology with Monsanto's.

DuPont countered that Monsanto acted fraudulently in obtaining its patent, rendering it invalid. And notably, Dupont argued it was not aware it could not put its own trait on top of, or "stack" it with, the Roundup Ready trait.

But email communications revealed through discovery showed that DuPont was advised by its own lawyers that the licensing arrangement restricted stacking of its own trait with Monsanto's. Monsanto asked the court for sanctions against DuPont for the misrepresentation.

Both companies have strong positions in the U.S. seed industry and have been racing each other to develop higher-yielding crops through genetic modifications and other means.

Monsanto introduced its Roundup Ready soybean technology in 1996. Roundup Ready crops can tolerate sprayings of Roundup, or glyphosate-based, herbicide. The technology has become a foundation for many key crops, including corn, alfalfa, cotton, canola and sugar beets.


Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (1) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

AgLander    
Missouri  |  May, 15, 2014 at 08:39 AM

A culture of corruption appears to be in place at DuPont......it had to be sheer stupidity by management from the CEO on down to think they could get away with such a scheme that even their own inner office communications revealed was in play. The CEO should resign. I'm surprised there has not been a stockholders movement seeking better corporate governance and accountability by senior management.


Blend and Bulk Tower Systems

Waconia Towers provide speed, efficiency and reliability that only gravity-fed systems can offer. Towers are available with up to 300 ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form