(CN) – Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, cannot use a European patent on its Roundup Ready soybeans to block Dutch companies from importing soy meal from Argentina, Europe’s top court ruled.
Roundup Ready crops are genetically engineered to resist glyphosate, a broad-spectrum pesticide developed by Monsanto and marketed under the name Roundup.
Because the patented DNA is merely “dead material” that has ceased to perform its function by the time it’s processed for harvest, patent protection in the European Union is not possible, the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice ruled.
Argentina’s intellectual property laws do not protect Monsanto’s genetically modified DNA there. The biotech giant had sought royalties from Dutch importers of the soy meal, which is largely used to feed cattle.
Monsanto withdrew the Dutch lawsuit following a court adviser’s opinion earlier this year, in which Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi found that Monsanto’s patent on Roundup Ready soybeans does not extend to soy meal made from the patented seeds.
The Court of Justice’s ruling was in line with Mengozzi’s preliminary opinion.