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19-06-2012 21:05:00

Monsanto Sues DuPont Over Patents

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CHICAGO--Seed company Monsanto Co. (MON) filed a lawsuit against DuPont Co. (DD) and its Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. unit, alleging infringement of Monsanto patents in seed development technology.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, alleges that a Pioneer system used to identify seeds with superior genetics uses technology that infringes on Monsanto patents. The technology, used to automate sampling of material from seeds and still allow them to be planted later, is known as "seed chipping."

"We believe this latest suit by Monsanto is without merit, and we will vigorously defend our position in court," DuPont said in a statement. "Monsanto continues to use litigation in an attempt to limit Pioneer from being an effective competitor. This tactic has not worked in previous cases, and it will not work in this matter."

Monsanto first publicly demonstrated its seed-chipper system in August 2007, the lawsuit says. It alleges that Pioneer's "laser-assisted seed selection" system, unveiled a year later, copies Monsanto's chipping technology.

The lawsuit's requests include an unspecified amount of compensation for damages and an order for DuPont and Pioneer to stop selling products developed using the allegedly infringing technology.

In a statement on its website, Monsanto said it has "been open to licensing our chipper technology."

Write to Owen Fletcher at owen.fletcher@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 19, 2012 15:05 ET (19:05 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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