Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, suspended collection of royalties for its Roundup Ready soybeans in Brazil while it appeals a state court ruling on intellectual property rights.
An appellate court in Mato Grosso this week upheld an injunction requested by a group of growers to stop fee collections in the state before a trial challenging patents for the genetically modified beans. Monsanto will temporarily suspend the collections nationwide to “maintain operational consistency,” the St. Louis-based company said Wednesday on its website.
Growers say the patent on the original Roundup Ready soybeans expired in 2010, ending their obligation to pay Monsanto a technology fee on the seeds. Monsanto says that Brazilian law extends the patent to 2014, when it expires in the US. Monsanto is counting on growth in Latin America, particularly Brazil, to meet its earnings forecast.
Monsanto said it expects appellate courts to decide whether collections can resume over the next several weeks, prior to the start of the trial in state court.
The outcome of the case won’t affect sales of Intacta soybeans, a newly patented product engineered to produce insecticide and tolerate Roundup herbicide. Farmers are currently testing Intacta beans prior to full commercial sales next year.