Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Monsanto gets whacked at European Court of Justice on soybeans

Monsanto's European patent for the trait that makes soybeans resistant to Round Up doesn’t extend patent protection to soy meal made FROM the patented seeds, according to a decision at the European Court of Justice.

Soy meal from Argentina, where Monsanto has no relevant patent, had been impounded in Amsterdam harbor


See Purpose-bound protection for DNA sequences: in through the back door? by Michael A. Kock

Advocate General Mengozzi issued an opinion concluding, ‘"that the protection for a patent relating to a DNA sequence is limited to the situations in which the genetic information is currently performing the functions described in the patent’", thereby arguing for both a purpose-bound and time-limited scope of protection. In his view, the Directive constitutes an exhaustive body of rules and precludes national legislation from conferring wider protection.


This dispute concerns the shipment of soya meal from Argentina to the EU. The soya meal was obtained from genetically modified soya tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup Ready)® due to the presence of a specific gene encoding the enzyme 5-enol-pyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS).4 It is undisputed that the Roundup Ready® tolerant soybean (‘RR soybean’) was originally made by Monsanto, which developed it, obtaining government approval for cultivation in Argentina and importation for the purposes of food and feed into the EU.


Directive 98/44 Cefetra B.V. Alfred C. Toepfer International GmbH (‘ACTI’) Article 8(1) Article 9


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