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4-Patents: Monsanto asks Spanish customs to inspect soy shipments from Argentina

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TITLE:  Monsanto asks Spanish customs to inspect soy shipments from Argentina
SOURCE: Reuters, by Carey Gillam
DATE:   26 Jan 2006

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Monsanto asks Spanish customs to inspect soy shipments from Argentina

Monsanto Co. has asked customs officials in Spain to seize incoming
soymeal shipments from Argentina and check for its patented Roundup
Ready soybean gene technology, the company said on Wednesday.

One ship was stopped in the port of Bilbao and another in Santander,
Spain. Monsanto, the leading developer of genetically modified crops,
has been trying to crack down on unlicensed use of its technology in
Argentina, the world's No. 3 soybean exporter.

"Monsanto has no other choice but to ensure the protection of its rights
and therefore file legal actions on a shipment by shipment basis to seek
damages," the St. Louis, Missouri-based company said in a statement.

Monsanto, whose genetically modified soybeans are able to withstand
treatment with its Roundup weed-killer, has been trying to change the
royalty collection system in Argentina. lt has estimated that 30 percent
of Argentine soybean producers buy Roundup Ready seeds on the black
market, avoiding royalty payments to Monsanto. Argentine agriculture
officials were not immediately available to comment on Monsanto's action
in Spain.

Officials in the South American country have said they are working to
stamp out illegal seed trade. But they have balked at Monsanto's
proposals that royalties be paid when beans are harvested. Instead, the
country's government wants to keep requiring royalty payments when seeds
are sold.

In June, Monsanto filed patent infringement lawsuits in Denmark and the
Netherlands, The suits sought to force importers of Argentine soy
containing the company's Roundup Ready gene to enforce patents on the
technology in those countries.

Roundup Ready is not patented in Argentina. Monsanto Argentina said it
is still willing to negotiate.

"Monsanto Argentina continues to be open and committed to finding a
solution together with the rest of the soy production sector, in
Argentina and the rest of the world," the company's Buenos Aires office
said in a statement.

Herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready soybean seeds are popular with many
farmers because they allow them to more easily kill weeds without
harming the crop.
(additional reporting by Karina Grazina and Hilary Burke in Buenos Aires).


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