DuPont has filed an answer and counterclaims to a recent Monsanto lawsuit that seeks to block farmers' access to innovative new soybean lines from DuPont business Pioneer-Hi Bred, according to a press release from DuPont. These soybeans would contain Pioneer's proprietary Optimum GAT trait and -- through Monsanto's royalty-bearing license agreement -- the Roundup Ready trait.

In its federal court filing this week, DuPont affirmed that combining, or "stacking," of Optimum GAT and Roundup Ready technologies is clearly within its rights under the license agreement with Monsanto.

DuPont also said that patents relating to Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans are invalid and, therefore, are not infringed when Optimum GAT and Roundup Ready traits are "stacked" in soybeans. In addition, DuPont is seeking broad relief under anti-trust laws that would end Monsanto's multifaceted, anti-competitive scheme to unlawfully restrict competition.

"We believe we have every right through our existing Monsanto license agreement to 'stack' our Optimum GAT trait with Pioneer soybean genetics already containing a Roundup Ready trait," said DuPont Group Vice President James C. Borel. "We will vigorously defend our rights to bring valuable new technologies to the market.

"Monsanto's lawsuit is another tactic used to restrict the availability of competitive products. Farmers want and deserve diverse technology options that can best satisfy their specific needs to help meet the increasing global demands for agriculture. Advancements in agriculture productivity, for example, hinge on having technology options available in the market. Our proprietary Optimum GAT trait combined with the Roundup Ready trait in elite Pioneer soybean genetics would be superior to any other product on the market -- better yields and broader, more flexible weed control options," Borel added.

"The seed industry, U.S. growers, and, ultimately, consumers are best served when seed companies can assemble the best combinations of traits and germplasm for their customers -- without the anti-competitive restrictions imposed by Monsanto."

Source: DuPont press release