Arch rivals DuPont and Monsanto end lawsuits, sign $1.75 bn technology licensing deals

Arch rivals, EI DuPont de Nemours & Co and Monsanto Co yesterday agreed to set aside their respective lawsuits and enter into $1.75-billion technology licensing deals on genetically modified seed traits.

DuPont and Monsanto have agreed to dismiss their respective antitrust and first-generation Roundup Ready soybean patent lawsuits in the federal court in St. Louis, including dismissing a $1-billion award handed last year against DuPont and its Pioneer subsidiary for infringing Monsanto's patents. (See: US jury awards Monsanto $1 bn in patent infringement suit against DuPont)

Under the terms of the deal, DuPont will pay Monsanto at least $1.75 billion over 10 years for the rights to Monsanto's leading genetic technology for genetically engineered new agricultural seed products.

''Through these agreements, DuPont Pioneer will be able to offer Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans as early as 2014, and Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Xtend glyphosate and dicamba tolerant soybeans as early as 2015, pending regulatory approvals,'' both companies said in a joint statement.

DuPont Pioneer also will receive regulatory data rights for the soybean and corn traits previously licensed from Monsanto, enabling it to create a wide array of stacked trait combinations using traits or genetics from DuPont Pioneer or others.
Monsanto will gain access to certain DuPont Pioneer disease resistance and corn defoliation patents.

''This technology exchange helps both companies to expand the range of innovative solutions we can offer farmers, and to do so faster than either of us could alone,'' said DuPont Pioneer president, Paul Schickler. ''The agreements broaden the Pioneer soybean line-up. Importantly, they give us greater flexibility in developing combinations of genetics and traits to help feed an increasingly crowded planet.''

Monsanto's Roundup Ready technology was first commercially introduced to US soybean farmers in 1996 and licensed the patent to alfalfa, corn, cotton, soybean, spring canola, sugar beet and winter canola farmers.

Since its introduction, Monsanto claims that the Roundup Ready technology has allowed farmers to better manage weeds, reduce the use of agricultural inputs, improve tillage practices, and save on fuel and time.

The Roundup Ready patent has generated $22 billion in revenue in the past eight years for Monsanto and the more than 200 seed companies that license this technology.