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4-Patents: Brazil court halts royalties on Monsanto's RR soy seed



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TITLE:  Brazil court halts royalties to Monsanto by farmers' group using
        herbicide-resistant soy seed
SOURCE: Associated Press, by Jim Suhr
DATE:   14 Jan 2005

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Brazil court halts royalties to Monsanto by farmers' group using
herbicide-resistant soy seed

ST. LOUIS -- A Brazilian court has temporarily halted royalty payments to
agriculture biotech giant Monsanto Co. by a farmers' group using its
herbicide-resistant soy seed in a country where the company long has
struggled to collect the fees.

The ruling applies only to the Cooperativa Triticola Mista Campo Novo,
the group of about 8,700 growers in Rio Grande do Sul, the South American
country's third-largest soy producing state. Most of the state's soy
production comes from genetically modified seeds.

Worldwide, Brazil is second in soy production but has the potential to
overtake the United States because of cheap land, low labor costs and
plentiful water.

The farmers' group argued that Monsanto should only be allowed to charge
royalties on its seeds, not on the amount of soy produced.

Under Brazilian law, farmers may plant genetically modified seeds already
in their hands, but selling such seeds is illegal. A bill in Brazil's
Congress that would have created a framework to legalize biotech seed
sales and crops bogged down last year amid predictions it would not be
passed until long after Brazilian farmers needed to finish planting.

Monsanto said in a statement Thursday it learned of the Brazilian
injunction through the media and would not publicly respond until it had
been officially notified. The company did not say if it would appeal.

For years, Monsanto has struggled in Brazil to collect royalty fees it
generally charges growers who plant its Roundup Ready soybeans, which are
genetically engineered to withstand its popular Roundup herbicide. Such
seeds save farmers money by paring the number of workers and weedkillers
needed to grow the crop.

Brazilian growers have used Monsanto seeds smuggled from neighboring
countries and have replanted them the next season without paying the
required royalty. The Brazilian government rarely enforces the requirement.

Monsanto shares fell 39 cents to $54.68 in late trading on the New York
Stock Exchange. It was still near the upper end of its 52-week range of
$28.65 to $56.44.




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