New Front in Legal War between DuPont and Monsanto

Oct 20, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
Rival agricultural products companies Monsanto and DuPont are engaged in a patent infringement lawsuit.

DuPont recently filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Monsanto, kicking off the latest round of legal wrangling between the rival companies.

DuPont subsidiary Pioneer, maker of Hi-Bred seed products, sued Monsanto for alleged antitrust violations in 2009. That same year, Monsanto - which creates and sells seeds, crop protection, weed control and other agricultural products - sued Pioneer for purportedly violating a licensing agreement related to Monsanto's Roundup Ready herbicide.

With those cases ongoing, DuPont filed the latest suit in a Des Moines, Iowa, district court on October 18. In the suit, DuPont contends that Monsanto infringed on a patented "novel seed production technique" related to the germination of seed corn under stress.

In a statement, Monsanto said it does not defoliate corn plants with its Paraquat or Roundup products, as the suit alleges. DuPont's complaint included photographs purportedly showing Monsanto engaged in this sort of defoliation, The Associated Press reported.

Monsanto described the lawsuit as "frivolous" and characterized the litigation as a competitive strategy by DuPont, meant to distract Monsanto from its business of creating and distributing new products.

Two days after filing the patent infringement suit, DuPont announced a fourth quarter common stock dividend of 41 cents per share, which was the same as the company's third quarter dividend.