GREENSBORO, NC (B)--A federal court has affirmed a jury's award of $65 million to Aventis CropScience in a verdict against DeKalb Genetics Corp. for misappropriation of technology and patent infringements involving its Roundup Ready corn seed.
The court also cancelled a 1994 agreement between Aventis and DeKalb and enjoined DeKalb from any commercialization of Roundup Ready corn.
In a written opinion, U.S. District Judge N. Carlton Tilley agreed with the verdicts by two separate juries which in April and June 1999 found DeKalb had improperly obtained Aventis' glyphosate tolerant corn technology, infringed
Aventis' patent and misappropriated trade secrets when it transferred technology to Monsanto and commercialized Roundup Ready corn.
The court's rulings on the post-trial motions confirm Aventis CropScience's ownership of traits that provide the GA-21 variety of corn seed with the ability to tolerate applications of glyphosate, the herbicide active ingredient in Roundup.
The judge, who presided in the trial that lead to the verdicts, gave DeKalb 30 days to file an emergency appeal to stay the injunction, which will otherwise require DeKalb to destroy its Roundup Ready corn seed.
Aventis CropScience is the new name of Rhone-Poulenc Agro, which merged with Hoechst AgrEvo in 1999. Rhone-Poulenc Agro had filed suit against DeKalb and Monsanto in 1997, claiming that the Roundup Ready corn seed was created from genetic material invented by Rhone-Poulenc.
The judge also reaffirmed his decision to remove Monsanto from the suit. Aventis will appeal that decision.