By Jess Halliday, 09-Jul-2010
“The European Court of Justice this week ruled that Monsanto cannot claim patent protection in Europe for inactive DNA sequences in imported GM soymeal, a judgement that lawyers believe could stimulate more imports of produce with inactive DNA.”
Monsanto holds a patent in the EU on a genetic sequence which makes the soybean plant resident to the herbicide glyphosate, used by farmers to kill off weeds without harming their soy crops. It does not hold a parallel patent for the technology, known as Roundup Ready, in Argentina however, which is a major soy grower.
In 2005 and 2006 soymeal imported from Argentina to The Netherlands was found to contain traces of Monsanto’s DNA, which indicated that the soymeal had been produced using the Roundup Ready variety.
Monsanto launched a lawsuit at the Rechtbank’s Gravenhage in The Hague, which subsequently referred the question to the European Court of Justice as to whether the DNA sequence’s presence constituted a patent infringement when marketed in the EU. More