DuPont told to pay Monsanto $1 billion

A federal jury this week awarded $1 billion to Monsanto Co. in a patent-infringement lawsuit against rival DuPont Co. over Monsanto's Roundup Ready seed technology.

DuPont plans to appeal the decision.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

The jury found DuPont willfully infringed Monsanto's patent for herbicide-resistant seeds. Roundup Ready seeds grow into plants able to survive exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Roundup weedkiller made by Monsanto.

St. Louis-based Monsanto filed suit in 2009 over DuPont's Optimum GAT soybean seed, which included a DuPont transgenic trait that enabled the crop to withstand applications of glyphosate.

DuPont and its seed subsidiary, now known as DuPont Pioneer, initially explored developing the seed as an alternative to Monsanto's Roundup Ready, but ultimately paired the Monsanto trait with its own trait in the Optimum GAT product. DuPont said it abandoned plans for the Optimum GAT product last year and never sold the seed.

Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, claimed that by stacking the gene onto its own product, DuPont violated the terms of a 2002 licensing agreement. DuPont countersued, alleging anticompetitive practices.

That countersuit has yet to go to trial.

As for this completed trial, The St. Louis Post Dispatch earlier this month reporting on how Monsanto made its case in court. The story -- "Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant tries to charm jury" - is quite fascinating.