Corteva lawsuit says Bayer, Monsanto violate herbicide-resistant plant patent

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A view shows corn at a plantation, July 13, 2022. REUTERS/Rodolfo Buhrer

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  • Corteva says Monsanto copied technology in its Enlist-branded corn
  • Patented technology allows growers to kill weeds without harming crops

Aug 11 - DuPont spinoff Corteva Agriscience LLC has sued Monsanto Co and its parent company Bayer Crop Science LP in Delaware federal court, arguing in a lawsuit made public Wednesday that their herbicide-resistant corn infringes a Corteva patent.

Monsanto and Bayer copied Corteva's technology for genetically modified plants including corn and soybeans that produce an enzyme giving them resistance to two classes of herbicides, the lawsuit said.

Corteva said its patented technology allows growers to kill weeds that resist herbicides like Monsanto's Roundup without killing the crops around them. The company said it uses the technology in its Enlist-branded corn.

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A Bayer spokesperson said in a Thursday statement that Corteva's lawsuit came "just hours" after Bayer sued Corteva in Delaware state court for allegedly misusing its technology and breaching a contract related to developing Corteva soybeans. That lawsuit was filed under seal, the spokesperson said.

Bayer also said it has its own patents covering herbicide-resistant corn and does not believe it needs a license to Corteva's patent.

Corteva said in a statement Thursday that it will "defend its intellectual property to continue to bring farmers much-needed technology."

Delaware-based Corteva separated from DowDuPont in 2019. It said Monsanto used its knowledge of the invention from Corteva's public patent application to create its herbicide-resistant corn plants.

Monsanto has filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to market the plants in the United States, which the lawsuit said is still pending.

Corteva asked the court for an unspecified amount of money damages and an order blocking Monsanto and Bayer from violating the patent.

Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018.

The case is Corteva Agriscience LLC v. Monsanto Co, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No. 1:22-cv-01046.

For Corteva: Michael Flibbert and Pier DeRoo of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner, Chad Stover of Barnes & Thornburg

For Monsanto and Bayer: not available

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at