Monsanto & the European Court of Justice ruling re: Roundup Ready soyameal

This was big news this month.  See some of our previous posts on this subject for some background, “Enlarging the ‘territorial’ nature of IP rights for goods in transit” and “Monsanto Technology, the European Court of Justice and Roundup Ready Soybean

As IPKat sum the story up nicely in their post “Monsanto: court makes meal of soya“:

“In short Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, sought to rely on a European patent for its Roundup Ready soy beans as a means of preventing the importation into the European Union of soy meal from Argentina. The question at the heart of the dispute was whether the patent, for soy beans that are resistant to some herbicides (notably Roundup), extends to soy meal made from the patented seeds. Argentina, the world’s third-biggest soy bean exporter after Brazil and the US, is one of the few countries in which Monsanto had no patent coverage for its herbicide-resistant seeds.”

Business Week in their post “Monsanto Loses EU Bid to Halt Argentinean Soy Imports” say:

“[The] decision is binding across the 27 EU nations and can’t be appealed.  “Monsanto cannot prohibit the marketing in the EU of soy meal containing, in a residual state, a DNA sequence,” it patented, the EU court said today.

While Monsanto had argued the patented trait in the soybeans remains under its protection after the beans have been processed into meal, the importers argued the patent’s scope isn’t that wide under EU biotechnology rules.”

Business Week also reported the drop is share price for Monsanto on the NYSE.  IP Kat provided the following link for full details of the Case C-428/08 for those who wish to reference the decision.  They also go on to point out:

“Within its sector, Monsanto’s actions will be carefully studied since not only that company but its competitors have looked to what is now held to be an improperly extended notion of patent protection for their income streams. The company is more IP-savvy than most and is bound to have Plan B, Plan C and Plan D lined up.”

This is interesting and fits into somewhat to our recent blog about increased trademark usage.   We will also be looking out to see what Monsanto has up their sleeve then!

(Thanks to Kalpana Sastry & Victoria Henson-Apollonio for sending me links on this news item)

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