US jury awards Monsanto $1 bn in patent infringement suit against DuPont

A US jury awarded Monsanto Co $1 billion, in a patent infringement lawsuit brought on against rival DuPont on Roundup Ready seed technology.
The award, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, is the biggest US jury verdict this year and the fourth-largest jury award in a patent trial in US history.

St Louis-based Monsanto originally filed the suit against DuPont and its seed subsidiary, DuPont Pioneer, in May 2009, for preventing the unlicensed combination of Monsanto's proprietary Roundup Ready herbicide tolerant technologies in soybeans and corn with DuPont's problem plagued OGAT technology.

Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, said that it repeatedly offered DuPont a licence prior to and throughout the duration of the trial, but DuPont refused to accept claiming that Monsanto misled the US patent office while obtaining the patent and it was no longer valid.

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 the technology, Bloomberg reported, citing George Lombardi, a partner in Chicago-based Winston & Strawn, who told the jury in opening statement.

The materials uncovered from DuPont files during this case revealed that DuPont's senior executives were trying to suppress the fact that their OGAT technology had failed and were using elaborate schemes to cover that up with the unlicensed use of Monsanto's technology.

David Snively, Monsanto's executive vice president and general counsel, said that DuPont knew the OGAT technology did not work for years, but opted to tell a different story to their customers and to Wall Street.