DAS WINS POSITION IN KEY TECHNOLOGY CASE
Dow AgroSciences LLC has won its motion for summary judgment in a key patent infringement lawsuit involving its Enlist Weed Control System. The lawsuit, filed in December 2010 by Bayer CropScience SA, alleged that DAS’ herbicide tolerance technology infringed one of its patents. In a recent ruling, a federal district court sided with DAS, determining that its Enlist technology does not infringe Bayer’s patent, and that Bayer’s over-broad interpretation of its patent claims would render them invalid. “The court correctly found that DAS did not infringe Bayer’s intellectual property,” said William Wales, vice president and general counsel for DAS. “DAS remains committed to ensuring our Enlist technology is available for farmers as they struggle with weed control issues.”
MONSANTO OFFERS ROYALTY-FREE ACCESS TO BIOTECHNOLOGY
Monsanto Co. will provide a royalty-free research license to the academic community and other non-profit research institutions to a newly-issued U.S. patent related to the Agrobacterium transformation method. The announcement has the potential to further advance research and development of new technologies in row crops such as soybeans, cotton and canola, as well as specialty crops such as alfalfa, potatoes, tomatoes, and sugar beets. “We hope that access to one of the leading agricultural biotechnologies can further both the enablement and development of key agriculture solutions for farmers and consumers alike,” said Robb Fraley, chief technology officer for Monsanto and also one of the leading scientists behind the discovery.
SYNGENTA AND RUSSIA SIGN LETTER OF INTENT
Syngenta, in conjunction with the Governor of Krasnodarskiy Krai, Russia, has signed a letter of intent to invest up to $85 million in the construction of a hybrid seed and crop protection production facility. “Technology will play a key role in realizing Russia’s ambition to intensify its agriculture sustainably. This also represents a significant economic opportunity for Russian farmers. It is therefore vital that they have access to high-quality crop protection products and hybrid seed,” says John Atkin, chief operating officer of Syngenta. Subject to obtaining the necessary local permits and approvals, Syngenta expects to commence production of hybrid seed in 2015 and of crop protection products in 2016.
BASF TO ACQUIRE BECKER UNDERWOOD
BASF plans to acquire Iowa-based Becker Underwood for US$1.02 billion. Becker Underwood is a global provider of technologies for biological seed treatment and seed treatment colors and polymers, as well as products in the areas of biological crop protection, turf and horticulture, animal nutrition and landscape colorants and coatings. Becker Underwood has 10 production sites worldwide and 479 employees. As part of the acquisition, BASF’s Crop Protection division will create a strategic global business unit called Functional Crop Care. The unit will merge BASF’s existing research, development and marketing activities in the areas of seed treatment, biological crop protection and plant health, as well as water and resource management, with those of Becker Underwood. The purchase is subject to approval by the responsible authorities.
FSANZ CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS ON GM APPLICATION
Food Standards Australia New Zealand is inviting submissions on an application to change the Food Standards Code to allow the production of food derived from a genetically modified canola. FSANZ CEO, Steve McCutcheon, said the application from Monsanto Australia sought permission to allow the production of food derived from a canola that’s been genetically modified to be tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate. “The FSANZ safety assessment found there are no human health or safety concerns and that food from this canola line is as safe for human consumption as food derived from conventional canola,” said McCutcheon. “FSANZ is taking comments from government agencies, public health professionals, industry and the community on the application.”
EU CONFIRMS FARMERS’ RIGHT TO CULTIVATE GE CROPS
The European Court of Justice has clarified the legal requirements for the cultivation of genetically engineered crops in the member states of the EU. The Court confirmed that additional national authorization procedures, introduced on top of the existing approval process conducted by the European Food Safety Authority, were unlawful. It also declared that co-existence measures are not mandatory to grow GE plants. “The cultivation of GE organisms such as the MON 810 maize varieties cannot be made subject to a national authorization procedure when the use and marketing of those varieties are authorized,” the Court of Justice said in a statement.
SYNGENTA CORN TRAIT PENDING DEREGULATION
Syngenta has announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted registration of its Agrisure Duracade trait. This follows the completion of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration consultation process in February, which determined that the trait is as safe for human and animal consumption as conventional corn. The Agrisure Duracade trait expresses a unique protein (eCry3.1Ab) for control of corn rootworm. “Pending full USDA deregulation, the new trait will be stacked with the Agrisure RW trait to provide growers with dual modes of action against corn rootworm, allowing them to grow more corn while also countering the development of insect resistance in fields and sustaining insect control solutions,” says David Morgan, president of Syngenta Seeds Inc. and Syngenta North America regional director.
UKRAINE ABOLISHES GMO LABELING
The Ukraine Cabinet has abolished compulsory labeling of products that do not contain genetically modified organisms. According to Mykola Prysiazhniuk, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, the government has approved a bill that would allow producers not to specify that their products do not contain GMOs on the packaging. “We have reviewed and approved the bill, which provides for new conditions and requirements for the labeling of food products relating to the presence of GMOs. The information about the presence of GMOs on the products which contain them will be a binding requirement, and the manufacturer will carry responsibility for that,” said Prisyazhnyuk.