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4-Patents: Monsanto stops more Argentine soy in Europe, sues



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TITLE:  Monsanto Stops More Argentine Soy in Europe, Sues
SOURCE: Reuters, by Hilary Burke
DATE:   08 Feb 2006

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Monsanto Stops More Argentine Soy in Europe, Sues

BUENOS AIRES - US biotech company Monsanto Co has escalated its battle
to collect soybean royalties from Argentina, stopping more shipments to
Europe from the South American country and suing for patent violations.

Monsanto Argentina told Reuters on Tuesday the company stopped another
boatload of Argentine soy two days ago, in Liverpool, England.
Last week, Monsanto sued two importers of Argentine soymeal in Spain.
The company is seeking economic compensation and recognition in that
country of its patent rights for Roundup Ready soybeans, genetically
engineered to tolerate exposure to Monsanto's Roundup weed killer.

Spokesman Federico Ovejero said Monsanto Argentina remained "willing to
work on a local solution but today, in the absence of other solutions,
we have decided to take these actions."

Last June, the multinational sued importers of Argentine soy in Denmark
and the Netherlands to enforce patents in those countries on its Roundup
Ready gene technology, used by nearly all Argentine farmers but which is
not patented locally.

Europe is the top market for soymeal from Argentina, the world's No.1
soymeal supplier.

Argentina's government estimates that 30 percent of the country's
farmers buy GMO seeds on the black market, avoiding royalty fees. Local
law allows farmers to reuse GMO seeds without paying fees.

Monsanto has been lobbying for two years for a new royalties scheme in
Argentina, and stopped charging other companies licensed to use the
Roundup Ready technology in their own seed varieties. But the government
is unwilling to change the basic structure of payments.

A spokeswoman at the Agriculture Secretariat said Argentina will keep
working "to show that Monsanto does not have a legal basis for doing the
things it does and that it is clearly harming our nation" with its
latest moves.

In the last week, Argentina petitioned the Dutch court to participate in
the suit as an interested third party, saying the lawsuit harms exports
and drains government coffers.

The Agriculture Secretariat said on Monday it will try to intervene in
the Danish suit as well, "and without a doubt, it will do the same if
the company takes action in Spain's national courts."

The government is also contemplating suing Monsanto separately in
Europe, which buys nearly $2 billion a year of Argentina's soy-related goods.

(Additional reporting by Nicolas Misculin)


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