Monsanto had claimed that DuPont infringed its patents covering glyphosate pesticide products

A US court has awarded $1 billion (£640 million) in damages to Monsanto following a patent dispute with DuPont over crops bred to be resistant to the popular pesticide glyphosate. Monsanto had claimed that DuPont infringed its patents covering Roundup Ready technology, through its development of its Optimum GAT (OGAT) products. And now a jury agrees.

According to Monsanto, this gave DuPont an ‘improper head start’ in the race to market. Monsanto launched its Roundup Ready products in 1996. It filed suit against DuPont in 2009 ‘to prevent the unlicensed combination of Monsanto’s proprietary Roundup Ready herbicide tolerant technologies in soybeans and corn with DuPont’s problem plagued OGAT’.

‘This verdict also underscores that DuPont’s unauthorised use of the Roundup Ready technology was both deliberate and aimed at rescuing its own failed technology,’ said David Snively, Monsanto executive vice president and general counsel.

DuPont said that it disagreed with the verdict and would appeal. ‘There were several fundamental errors in the case, which deprived the jury of important facts and arguments and led to the disappointing outcome,’ the company added. ‘The evidence presented during the trial demonstrated clearly that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybean patent is invalid and unenforceable and that Monsanto intentionally deceived the United States Patent and Trademark Office on several occasions as it sought patent protection,’ said DuPont senior vice president and general counsel Thomas Sager.