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A St. Louis jury on Tuesday sided with Monsanto Co. in a dispute with agribusiness competitor Bayer CropScience, ruling that Monsanto did not infringe upon a patent related to insect protection technology in corn. The U.S. District Court jury also found that Bayer CropScience’s patent was invalid. “This legal victory will help ensure that Monsanto can continue to deliver to farmers important crop-improvement technology — specifically the synthetic Bt gene technology that helps protect plants against insects that otherwise would lower the quality and yield of their crop,” said Robert Fraley, chief technology officer for St. Louis-based Monsanto. Bayer CropScience is a division of Germany-based Bayer AG. “Bayer CropScience is disappointed with the jury’s verdict,” the company said in a statement. “We are waiting for the court’s final decision and will consider all our legal options.” A spokeswoman declined further comment. Monsanto, maker of Roundup herbicides and other biotech products, said it was the first to introduce insect-protected corn to the marketplace when its YieldGard Corn Borer was unveiled in 1997. Bayer CropScience alleged in a 2000 lawsuit that technology used in YieldGard infringed four of its patents. Monsanto filed a suit of its own in U.S. District Court in St. Louis in December 2000, claiming four patents assigned to Bayer CropScience involving Bt technology were invalid and not infringed by technology in YieldGard corn. Bayer countersued, but dismissed claims in three of the four disputes in June 2004. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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