Monsanto loses dispute on modified soy in European Union Court

EFE

The Court of Justice of the European Union issued a contrary decision to the multinational Monsanto who for years charged farmers for patent rights on genetically modified soya in a dispute with the Government of Argentina and several companies.

The Community Justice dictated the verdict in a case where Monsanto denounced the Netherlands for importing seeds from Argentina for several companies, “RR soy” whose genes had been created in Europe by the American  company.

Between 2005 and 2006, the trade dispute gained momentum because Monsanto confiscated soybean seeds from Argentina in Europe in order to levy royalties.   Monsanto, however, had not registered the gene in Argentina, where this variety is used in large quantities.

The patent consists of a “DNA sequence” inserted into the soybean plant that causes it to resist a herbicide (glyphosate), removing weeds without damaging the crop.   The Court opined that the patented gene was in “residual” state and that Monsanto could not prevent the sale of a product containing in the European Union.

The judges state that the Community rules in the EU that supports biotechnological inventions protects such products as long as  “the genetic information that the product contains performs its function effectively in that matter.”   This means that the Court considers that although the seeds had traces of imported soybeans, it is an end or  “inert” product which has undergone several operations of “processing” so the “genetic information” no longer carries the initial function.

Community justice points out that EU rules do not allow a national regulation granting absolute protection for a patent for genetic modification.   In today’s pronouncement, the judges of the Community responded to a Dutch court, that  will dictate the final decision on the demand that Monsanto submitted in that country.

About Luis Miranda
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