Ten more Brazilian states' soy growers join Bayer patent dispute

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Soy producer associations in 10 Brazilian states have filed a legal petition to join with growers from Mato Grosso state and get Bayer to deposit royalties related to a soy seed technology into an escrow account, according to a document seen by Reuters.

Mato Grosso growers have sued agribusiness giant Bayer following its acquisition last year of U.S.-based Monsanto Co. In their lawsuit, the farmers claim irregularities related to the granting of Monsanto’s Intacta RR2 Pro genetically modified seed technology patent, including the company’s alleged failure to prove it involves true technological innovation.

Growers’ associations from 10 other states - Piauí, Amapá, Pará, Bahia, Maranhão, Paraná, Rondônia, Santa Catarina, Tocantins and Goiás - filed their petition on March 13 in Mato Grosso state courts, according to the document.

Bayer said that it would defend itself, both in relation to the Mato Grosso growers and the 10 other states.

Mato Grosso’s farmers are ultimately seeking to cancel Bayer’s Intacta patent rights, which are set to expire in October 2022.

Last year, a judge ordered royalties related to the technology to be deposited in an escrow account pending the end of the patent litigation.

In mid-2018, soy growers estimated that the patent would generate 800 million reais ($206 million) in royalties for the growers in Mato Grosso in the 2017/18 crop cycle. That would rise to 2.6 billion reais if the court decided the same for the other 10 states, a source familiar with the case said, requesting anonymity.

The growers’ association in Pará confirmed the document had been filed. Soy associations in the other states did not respond immediately.

($1 = 3.8768 reais)

Reporting by Jose Roberto Gomes; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien