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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Ag Giant’s GMO Corn Case Revived by the 8th

ST. LOUIS (CN) - Syngenta Seeds' lawsuit against a grain-storage and transportation company has been given new life by the 8th Circuit.

Syngenta, an agricultural chemical-maker, sued Bunge North America in 2011 after Bunge refused to accept Syngenta's Viptera, a genetically modified corn product designed to control pests.

Syngenta claimed Bunge violated the United States Warehouse Act (USWA), violated a third-party beneficiaries agreement between Bunge and the federal government and that Bunge violated the Lanham Act by engaging in false advertising.

Though a federal judge in Sioux City, Iowa, dismissed Syngenta's lawsuit, the 8th Circuit revived the agricultural giant's Lanham Act claim on Monday while affirming dismissal of the USWA and the third-party allegations.

"As it analyzed Syngenta's standing under this circuit's now-abrogated standard, the district court has not yet ruled on whether Syngenta has standing under the zone-of interests test and proximate causality requirement," Judge Kermit Bye wrote for a three-judge panel. "Bunge contends we may nevertheless affirm the grant of summary judgment under the district court's alternate ruling that Bunge's challenged statements did not qualify as commercial speech, a ruling Syngenta disputes. Instead of addressing the merits of Bunge's arguments, we exercise our discretion to remand Syngenta's Lanham Act claim for the district court to determine in the first instance whether Syngenta has standing to bring the claim under the zone-of interests test and proximate causality requirement."

Judges Myron Bright and Lavenski Smith concurred.

Syngenta has been sued five times since September over its genetically modified Viptera corn seed. In multibillion-dollar claims, farmers say the GM corn contaminated traditional corn, causing China to refuse U.S. corn.

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