Monsanto Company, noting that it spent $500 million on the research and development of biotech corn and soybean seeds in 2003, continues to aggressively pursue growers infringing on the company’s patent rights by illegally selling such seeds or planting them without a license agreement.
Monsanto notes that it has filed seven new lawsuits since November 2003, for a total of 16 such suits now in litigation, and eight others have been settled with growers in the Midwest, South and East.
“Many more field settlements have contributed to an average U.S. settlement to date of $99,200,” according to a company statement. “The maximum settlement has been $3.02 million, while the average U.S. settlement is $156 per acre.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld a decision against Homan McFarling, a soybean grower in Tupelo, Miss., in a patent infringement suit filed against him by Monsanto. It was his second appeal. The case against him dates back to his violation of a technology use agreement in 2002.
The case has yet to go to a jury trial to determine the amount of damages, taking into account the patent infringement and attorney fees.
In addition, an appellate bankruptcy court recently decided that the damage award against a grower who deliberately infringed on a biotech seed patent cannot be wiped away in bankruptcy court. The court found that William Farris Trantham was still liable for a $600,000 judgement in the patent infringement decision.
A statement from Monsanto warns, “Grower should think twice…