The court in St. Louis, Missouri found DuPont (NYSE: DD) and DuPont Pioneer guilty of breaching Monsanto's (NYSE: MON) patent rights for its Roundup Ready® technology, which the plaintiff claims gave the business an "improper headstart" with its Optimum® GAT® (OGAT) technology.
Monsanto executive vice president and general counsel David Snively, said the verdict highlighted that all companies that make early and substantial investments in developing cutting edge technology would have their intellectual property rights upheld and fairly valued.
"This verdict also underscores that DuPont's unauthorized use of the Roundup Ready technology was both deliberate and aimed at rescuing its own failed technology," he said.
"The materials uncovered from DuPont files during this case highlight that DuPont's senior leaders were actively working to hide the fact their OGAT technology had failed and were using elaborate schemes to cover that up with the unlicensed use of our technology."
DuPont has announced it will appeal the verdict at the earliest opportunity, saying there were several fundamental errors in the case that deprived the jury of important facts and arguments.
DuPont senior vice president and general counsel Thomas L. Sager said DuPont’s license to sell Roundup Ready® soybeans remained in place and was not impacted by the decision.
"DuPont believes that the evidence presented during the trial demonstrated clearly that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready® soybean patent (RE 39,247) is invalid and unenforceable and that Monsanto intentionally deceived the United States Patent and Trademark Office on several occasions as it sought patent protection," he said.
"Further, DuPont believes that the damages awarded of US$1 billion are unjustified, particularly considering that Pioneer has never sold a single Optimum® GAT® seed and has no plans to do so in the future.
"DuPont is and always has been committed to innovation and providing farmers with diverse technology options. We continue to stand by our position that we did not infringe the Roundup Ready® soybean patent and that the Monsanto patent is invalid."
The company said several aspects of Monsanto’s misconduct involving this patent, which were not tried in this case, would be presented to a different jury as part of DuPont’s antitrust and patent misuse case against Monsanto in September 2013.
Roundup Ready technology was commercially introduced in the U.S. in 1996 for soybean farmers, and today Monsanto broadly licenses the technology to alfalfa, corn, cotton, soybean, spring canola, sugar beet and winter canola farmers.