DuPont Sues Monsanto to Enforce Gene-Gun Technology Award
DuPont sued rival Monsanto to enforce an arbitration award requiring the world’s largest seed company to pay royalties over gene-gun technology used to develop herbicide-resistant soybeans.
DuPont, the largest US chemical company by market value, contends Monsanto is refusing to make royalty payments required by a 2012 arbitration ruling over DuPont’s Biolistic particle-delivery technology, also known as the gene-gun system, according to a lawsuit filed in Delaware Chancery Court in the US on Wednesday.
DuPont said in the suit that Monsanto agreed in 1992 to license technology that allows genes to be inserted into agricultural crops such as soybeans with the help of a gun which fires microscopic particles covered with genetic material into a plant’s cells.
“Despite DuPont’s repeated demands and attempts to resolve the dispute, Monsanto has refused” to make required payments “constituting several million dollars,” the company said in the complaint.
Scott Partridge, a vice president for strategy for Monsanto, said the company was surprised DuPont chose to sue over the arbitration case, which involves royalties of less than $7 million. “I find it puzzling and disturbing that they filed suit over a dispute that has been silent for two years,” he said in a telephone interview.
The gene-gun technology is important because it helps plants incorporate “the desired gene into the target cell and to reproduce that trait in successive generations,” DuPont said in the complaint.
DuPont contends Monsanto has paid more than $33 million over the gene-gun technology for North American soybeans, but won’t pay further royalties on South American crops.
Monsanto counters it doesn’t owe DuPont further royalties because its rival’s patent over the technology expired in 2007. Monsanto also claims it overpaid on earlier royalties required by the pact, according to the suit.
Bloomberg News, edited by ESM