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Syngenta sues US firms over biotechnology patents

Syngenta is taking legal action to preserve its US patents. Syngenta

The Swiss agrochemical concern Syngenta is suing six companies in the United States for allegedly infringing its biotechnology patents.

This content was published on July 26, 2002 - 11:32

The Basel-based firm said it had filed lawsuits on Thursday against Monsanto, DeKalb Genetics, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Delta and Pine Land, Dow AgroSciences and Mycogen Seeds.

Syngenta said it was seeking damages against the six firms for infringing its US property rights concerning transgenic corn and cotton products.

"It is clear that nothing short of this comprehensive action will stop the ongoing violation of our intellectual property rights," said David Jones, Syngenta's head of plant science, in a statement on Friday. "Our competitors are proceeding without regard to our patents."

Syngenta alleges that the YieldGard and Hercules insect-resistant corn products and Roundup Ready and Bollgard cotton products fall within the scope of its patent rights.

Two lawsuits

Two separate suits filed with the Federal District Court in Delaware seek to stop the sale of those products and the development of new products in contravention of the patents.

A spokesman for Syngenta said the company would be open to settling its differences with some of the big players in the US agriculture industry out of court. But he said the company was nevertheless confident that the legal action would be successful.

"We are very positive about the success," Rainer von Mielecki told swissinfo. "We would prefer to resolve patent issues without resorting to litigation, but we are fully prepared to enforce our patents, and have decided to do so."

Monsanto is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pharmacia, which was taken over earlier this month by New York-based rival Pfizer. The US mega-merger led to renewed market speculation about a possible contraction in the Swiss pharmaceuticals industry.

swissinfo

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