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Don’t Jump Gun On RR Patent Expiry: Monsanto

With only months to go before the original Canadian patent on Roundup Ready soybeans expires, the agreements farmers sign before planting this spring will still apply to the crops they harvest.

To that end, the Winnipegbased Canadian arm of the patent holder, Monsanto, is “taking additional steps to make sure everyone is aware of what happens when the original Roundup Ready soybean technology patent expires in August of this year,” Mike McGuire, the company’s sales and marketing lead for Eastern Canada, says.

Contract obligations to not save the genetically modified, glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready seed from the harvest “remain in effect” this year under Monsanto’s Technology Stewardship Agreement, the company said. Only in 2012 will a farmer have the option to buy certified Roundup Ready seed from a company holding a licence for Roundup Ready soybeans, without any contractual obligations or royalty payment to Monsanto.

A farmer can then save seed from the 2012 harvest for replanting in 2013, as long as the seed company from which they buy the seed for 2012 planting has no contractual obligations preventing him or her from doing so. And only in 2013 may a Canadian farmer decide to plant Roundup Ready soybeans saved from his or her own seed, the company said.

Also, according to Monsanto Canada’s intellectual property protection manager Erin Romeo, the company will still operate its Technology Protection Field Check program in 2011, “as a way to help maintain a level playing field for all farmers using and benefiting from this technology.” Furthermore, she says, Monsanto’s “next-generation” soybean technology, such as its Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield brand, is covered by a different patent than the first-generation Roundup Ready trait technology, meaning that any deregulation affecting the use of the original Roundup Ready technology won’t apply to Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans.

Other media, such as ads and point-of-purchase materials, will also be available to farmers and others to learn more about Roundup Ready soybean patent expiry, the company said.



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