ST. LOUIS – After a three week trial, jurors awarded Monsanto Co. $1 billion in a lawsuit against its rival DuPont for patent infringement, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
DuPont, which has filed a separate lawsuit filed against Monsanto for anti-competitive behavior set to go to trial next year, said it would appeal Wednesday’s decision.
The award is the fourth highest ever for a patent case, according to Bloomberg, and the single largest for a patent trial over agricultural biotechnology, according to the Post-Dispatch.
In the lawsuit, Monsanto accused the Delware-based E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., and its subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred, of using Monsanto’s soybean seed technology and combining it with DuPont’s own before Monsanto’s patent expired.
As the Post-Dispatch reports:
When Monsanto first released the technology, it decided to license it to seed companies, which could then implant the genetically engineered traits into their own seeds. The company now licenses the technology to about 200 companies, including Pioneer — its biggest customer. Monsanto now owns its own seed companies, too, making Pioneer its largest rival in the soybean seed business.
Monsanto’s attorneys told the jury, in often highly technical and laborious testimony, that DuPont had been trying to come up with its own system to rival Roundup Ready. In the mid-2000s, DuPont began to tout its Optimum GAT system, but then acknowledged it was failing and posed an “unacceptable risk” to farmers.