Biotech giants duel
First Monsanto v. Syngenta then Syngenta v. Monsanto

July 29, 2004, as reported by A U.S. subsidy of Swiss biotech giant Syngenta filed a lawsuit accusing U.S. biotech giant Monsanto of violating antitrust laws. Syngenta’s U.S. division claims that Monsanto has a monopoly on biotechnology corn seed in the U.S.

The lawsuit came shortly after Monsanto filed two new lawsuits accusing its Swiss agribusiness rival of breach of contract and patent infringement -- its third such action in less than three months. The Monsanto suit is seeking damages and termination of the Roundup Ready soybean license that Monsanto originally granted to Ciba-Geigy Corp, one of Syngenta's corporate predecessors.

Syngenta’s lawsuit alleges that Monsanto has “engaged in a pattern of illegal and improper activities to maintain its monopoly in key corn traits in the US, including Monsanto's attempts to prohibit Syngenta from competing with GA21, an established and proven glyphosate-tolerant corn trait”.

Syngenta said it plans to offer the GA21 technology through its NK brand, the Garst and Golden Harvest brands, and through license with other seed companies for the 2005 growing season.

Monsanto's original breach-of-contract lawsuit, filed on 10 May 2004, claims that the license it issued Syngenta limited Syngenta to commercializing Roundup Ready soybeans under one product brand.

Monsanto also said one of its subsidiaries had initiated a patent infringement lawsuit in Illinois federal court to stop Syngenta Seeds from developing, using and selling herbicide-tolerant corn seed such as Monsanto's GA21 Roundup Ready corn product.

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