Appeals Court weighs in on DuPont, Monsanto seed patent case

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 14, 2014 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with a lower District Court that found that DuPont and its Pioneer unit had “abused the judicial process and acted in bad faith” in a case regarding seed patents and licensing, but stopped short of recognizing DuPont's actions as “fraud on the court.”

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In the 20-page ruling, issued on Friday, the Federal Circuit agreed with U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber in St. Louis that DuPont engaged in “vexatious” conduct by making arguments in the case that contradicted internal DuPont emails.

“We are disappointed in the decision reached by the Federal Circuit in the now-concluded litigation with Monsanto. 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,” said DuPont spokesperson Dan Turner.

A federal jury 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. However, that deal allowed DuPont to appeal the sanctions to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Monsanto originally 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 stacked seed product, combining Monsanto's licensed trait with DuPont's technology, known as Optimum GAT (OGAT).

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