Monsanto wins key patent dispute over gene insertion

St. Louis, MISSOURI, October 6, 2004 -- CropChoice news: Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON): announced that it has won the key patent battle regarding biotech-gene technology for the transformation of dicot plants, such as cotton. The decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that Monsanto’s scientists were the first to invent this important discovery ends a 12-year patent interference dispute with the Max Planck Institute and other parties.

The decision, issued yesterday by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, recounts the basis for finding that Monsanto was the first company to invent agrobacterium transformation in dicot plants, which eventually gave farmers the choice to use biotech crops on their farms.

“We are delighted that this scientific dispute has been resolved in Monsanto ’s favor,” said Hugh Grant, chief executive officer for Monsanto. “We’re pleased for our Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley, and the team of devoted researchers at Monsanto who drove the groundbreaking science that pioneered the tools of agricultural biotechnology.”

Agrobacterium is one of the ways to insert beneficial characteristics into plants. Monsanto’s Bollgard™ insect-protected cotton was developed using agrobacterium transformation for dicot crops.

In 1998, Robert T. Fraley, Ph.D., Robert B. Horsch, Ph.D., Ernest G. Jaworski, Ph.D., and Stephen G. Rogers, Ph.D., received the National Medal of Technology for their achievements in plant biology and agricultural biotechnology, and for global leadership in the development and commercialization of biotech crops to enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability.

The patent interference was originally declared in 1992.

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