Syngenta announced it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC, Willowood USA, LLC, Willowood Azoxystrobin, LLC, and Willowood Limited (collectively “Willowood”) for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair and deceptive trade practices. 

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, alleges, among other things, that Willowood’s Azoxy 2SC and AzoxyProp Xtra products each infringe certain Syngenta patents relating to azoxystrobin and methods of making azoxystrobin. The complaint further alleges that in labeling its products Willowood has copied, and infringes, Syngenta’s copyrighted product labels. 

Syngenta contends it “has invested significant resources researching, developing, and ultimately commercializing azoxystrobin, a break-through fungicidal chemical, which effectively controls fungal growth and enhances the yield of a variety of plants including cereals, such as wheat and barley, as well as fruits, vegetables, bananas, rice, soybeans, corn, turf and ornamentals.” 

Syngenta has marketed a number of azoxystrobin products, including those under the trade names Abound, Heritage, Quadris, and Quilt.

Syngenta explained that it “continues to make significant investments to develop new products that meet growers’ needs. Given the stringent regulatory approval process and the high cost of research and development, the investment requires a major time and financial commitment.” The average time to bring a new crop protection product to market is up to 10 years and can cost $260 million, according to industry data. 

“Willowood’s infringement enables it to unfairly compete while avoiding the significant investments made by Syngenta. The lawsuit seeks to permanently stop Willowood’s infringement of Syngenta’s intellectual property rights, to recover damages for compensation and obtain other equitable and monetary relief,” the company announcement of the lawsuit explained.