Jury finds for Monsanto in patent case vs. Bayer
Tue Nov 22, 2005 03:17 PM ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov 22 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co. on Tuesday said a jury found in its favor in a patent infringement case involving rival Bayer CropScience and a popular insect-protection technology for corn.
Monsanto said the jury found that it did not infringe a U.S. patent assigned to Bayer CropScience and that the patent was invalid.
The case involves a genetically modified corn known as Bt corn and is one of many patent and licensing entanglements over genetically modified crop technology involving Monsanto, the world's leading developer of biotech crops.
"The jury's findings are further confirmation that Monsanto's scientists were the first to invent the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insect-resistant corn technology and prove that it works," said Robert T. Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Monsanto, in a prepared statement.
Officials with Bayer CropScience, a unit of Germany's Bayer AG, could not be reached for comment.
Though Monsanto heralded the victory, analysts mostly shrugged off the news, saying licensing and patent complications involving Monsanto and other industry players were common and continuing.
"I don't think that this meaningfully changes anything," said Greenwich Consultants analyst Michael Judd. "It's not enough to move the needle."
Monsanto first introduced insect-protected corn to the market in the form of YieldGard Corn Borer in 1997.
Bayer sued some of Monsanto's technology licensees in August 2000, alleging that the technology used in YieldGard Corn Borer infringed four of its patents.
Monsanto filed its own suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis for a declaratory judgment against Bayer CropScience.
Monsanto shares were up 84 cents or 1.15 percent at $74.14 in late afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
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