U.S. Judge Rules in Favor of Mycogen
A federal judge has granted partial summary judgment in favor of Mycogen Seeds, an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences, in a lawsuit against Pioneer Hi-Bred International. Mycogen challenged Pioneer’s right to sell corn hybrids containing Herculex Insect Protection to regional seed companies through Pioneer’s PROaccess business, as it interferes with its exclusive right to license the Herculex Insect Protection trait to those companies. In the November 2010 order, the judge granted partial summary judgment to Mycogen on its claim that Pioneer had breached the 1995 agreement. The trial on the remaining issues in the case, including the amount of damages that Pioneer owes Mycogen, is scheduled to begin in mid-January 2011 in federal court in Indianapolis, Ind.
Dow AgroScience Receives Allowance of Patent Application
Dow AgroSciences LLC has announced the allowance of its U.S. patent application for crop plants that contain one of DAS’ new classes of herbicide-tolerant traits. The trait, which has shown promise for use in corn and other monocots, conveys robust tolerance to broadleaf and grass herbicides. DAS has also filed for broad patent protection in major crop-growing countries around the world. Pending regulatory approval in key countries and leading with the U.S. patent approval, DAS expects to introduce this technology in corn as early as 2012 with other DAS herbicide-tolerant traits in soybeans and cotton to follow.
Cal/West Seeds Receives Plant Variety Protection
Cal/West Seeds has received a certificate of plant variety protection for CW Safflower 3268-OL. This new oleic variety features higher yield potential combined with very high levels of oil providing growers with a new option for increasing their productivity. The significance of plant variety protection is it acknowledges that this variety of safflower is the intellectual property of Cal/West and provides a form of intellectual property rights protection to Cal/West. The PVP certificate prohibits unauthorized reproduction and sale of this variety by any other company
ESFA Publishes Guidance of Impact of GM Plants
The European Food Safety Authority has published updated guidance for the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified plants. Scientific experts on EFSA’s GMO panel have updated and further developed guidance for the environmental assessment of GM applications submitted for authorization in the EU, with respect to data generation, collection and analysis. In the guidance, EFSA reviewed and updated seven specific areas that needed to be addressed when assessing the environmental impact of a GM plant. These include, in particular, the persistence and invasiveness of the GM plant, taking into account possible plant-to-plant gene transfer; the likelihood and consequences of gene transfer from the plant to microorganisms; the potential evolution of resistance in target organisms; the potential effects on non-target organisms; the biogeochemical processes, such as changes in soil composition and the potential impact of the cultivation, management, and harvesting techniques of the GM plant.
EU Clears Syngenta's Purchase of Sunflower Seed Business
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the global sunflower seed business of Monsanto Company by Syngenta of Switzerland. The notified transaction combines two leading sunflower seed suppliers in Europe, with significant breeding activities. The decision is conditional upon the divestment of Monsanto’s sunflower hybrids, commercialized or under official trial in Spain and Hungary, as well as the parental lines used in the creation of those hybrids or currently under development for the creation of hybrids for Spain and Hungary. The EC concluded the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the internal market or any substantial part of it.
German Court Confirms Biotech Law
The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany has confirmed essential stipulations of what is known as the Genetic Engineering Act. Currently valid restrictions on the cultivation of genetically modified plants thereby remain in effect. In 2005, the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt filed suit against the Genetic Engineering Act put through by the ruling federal government of the time. In a decision announced November 24, 2010, the court dismissed the suit and confirmed the restrictive regulations applied through the act to cultivation of GM plants. According to these regulations, a farmer who sows GM plants is liable for all economic damage that results in conventional stocks through cross-pollination. Legally binding directives on best practice procedures have existed since 2008 for the cultivation of GM plants and, particularly, GM maize. Changes in the biotechnology law are still expected this year.
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