The European Patent Office
(EPO) has revoked a patent held by Bayer for traditionally-bred easy-to-harvest
The patent was originally
awarded to Monsanto in 2013 for broccoli plants with an “extend head” which
made them easier to harvest. However the following year an opposition to the
patent was filed by a group of organisations.
The cancellation of the
patent follows new rules introduced last year by the EPO which stated that
patents can no longer be granted on plants or animals derived via conventional
breeding techniques such as crossing and selection.
The move was welcomed by
campaign group No Patents on Seeds, which had protested about the original
patent with a giant head of broccoli and a 75,000 signature petition. “This is
an important success for the broad coalition of civil society organisations
against patents on plants and animals,” said the group’s Christoph Then.
“Without our activities, the EPO rules would not have been changed and the
patent would still be valid. The giant corporations, such as Bayer, Syngenta
and BASF, have failed in their attempt to completely monopolise conventional
breeding through using patents.” However, the group added that issues remain,
following the rejection of opposition to patent for barley varieties held by
Carlsberg and Heineken.
Jason Rutt, a patent
attorney at law firm Boult Wade Tennant, added, “There are a plethora of other
seed cases maturing at the EPO and it will be fascinating to see how this
decision impacts them.”
The post Bayer
Monsanto broccoli patent revoked appeared first on Hort News.
Following the successful lawsuit against Monsanto in California in August in which a jury ruled that a former groundskeeper’s cancer was caused by Roundup, and that the company knowingly withheld information about the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate, industry analysts are warning that Bayer is now bracing itself for thousands of future claims.
German-based acquired Monsanto earlier this year for $63 billion and according to Reuters, the company faces years of legal activity with some 8,000 lawsuits currently being brought against Monsanto, much higher than the 5,200 cases previously disclosed by Bayer in June.
“The number of plaintiffs in both state and federal litigation is approximately 8,000 as of end-July. These numbers may rise or fall over time but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases,” Bayer’s chief executive Werner Baumann admitted to analysts in a conference call.
The lawsuits are also pulling in food manufacturers, with General Mills having to remove a claim about the use of ‘100% natural whole grain oats’ in its Nature Valley brand cereal bars.
Photo Caption: Bayer could face years of legal action in the United States after its acquisition of Roundup manufacturer Monsanto
Business and agricultural publications report that Monsanto may be investigating the purchase of BASF’s agricultural business after rejecting Bayer’s $62 billion takeover bid earlier this year.
At the same time, both Bayer and Monsanto have confirmed that the former has submitted a revised, and higher, bid for its American rival. In a press release issued on 14 July Bayer said it had increased its takeover bid to $125 per share (the previous bid was $122 per share) in an offer submitted to Monsanto on 9th July.
Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said, “We are convinced that this transaction is the best opportunity available to provide Monsanto shareholders with highly attractive, immediate and certain value. Bayer is fully committed to pursuing this transaction.”
However, in the financial markets, a Monsanto acquisition of part of BASF was seen as easier to pull off. “Looking at the agricultural chemicals and seeds landscape, Monsanto-BASF is the most logical combination,” said Christian Faitz, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux.
Other consolidation in the sector includes the announced merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont and ChemChina’s ongoing acquisition of Syngenta.
German-based chemicals giant Bayer AG has reportedly offered US$122 in cash per share in its bid to acquire Monsanto, valuing the US agchem company at US$62 billion. This represents a 35 per cent premium over the company’s share price on the day before the offer was made.
Bayer, which admitted its interest in Monsanto last week, says the two companies would be beneficial, in particularly combining its own strength in crop protection and plant health with Monsanto’s breeding and seed portfolio. This is an area Bayer has been exploring in recent years; including its acquisition of Dutch seed company Nunhems.
James Blome, CEO of Bayer Crop Science, has reportedly said that said that if the deal is approved the headquarters for joint crop science efforts would be in St. Louis in the Unites States.
Bayer AG CEO Werner Baumann said on Monday, “We have long respected Monsanto’s business and share their vision to create an integrated business that we believe is capable of generating substantial value for both companies’ shareholders. Together we would draw on the collective expertise of both companies to build a leading agriculture player with exceptional innovation capabilities to the benefit of farmers, consumers, our employees and the communities in which we operate.”
According to the news agency Bloomberg, multinational chemical company Bayer AG may be preparing to purchase Monsanto.
Reports suggest that the German-based business has already held internal discussions and has talked to advisors about the possible deal which, if successful, would create the world’s largest agrochemical and seed company.
With a valuation of around €79 billion, Bayer is almost twice as big as Monsanto which has an estimated market value of €43 billion. However, financial analysts have suggested that Bayer would need to sell off certain assets to obtain sufficient funds for a deal and also point out that such a large merger would create ant-trust and competition issues around the world. ‘Competition regulators are already investigating the $130 billion merger between Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co., while national security officials in the U.S. weigh China National Chemical Corp.’s bid to acquire Syngenta AG of Switzerland for $43 billion,’ says Bloomberg.
In a conference call with analysts on 26 April, Liam Condon, head of crop sciences at Bayer, said, “We’ve always said that we want to build out further our seeds business. We’ve had some acquisitions, minor or smaller acquisitions that we’ve made, and we continue to look at all options that create value for Bayer.”
Swiss-based agricultural and chemical company Syngenta says that it has rejected a second takeover approach by America’s Monsanto.
Syngenta said it received another letter from Monsanto on Saturday 6 June, which repeated the company’s earlier offer to acquire Syngenta for about $45 billion, which was rejected in May partly due to potential regulatory concerns. According to reports, the latest offer added a $2 billion breakup fee if the merger proved unpalatable to regulators, which Syngenta described as “wholly inadequate” and “paltry.”
“Monsanto’s second letter represents the same inadequate price, same inadequate regulatory undertakings to close, same regulatory risks and same issues associated with dual headquarters’ moves,” Syngenta said in a news release. “As such, we have reiterated our prior rejection of Monsanto’s proposal.”
In its latest letter Monsanto said: “As a sign of our high degree of confidence in obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals, we are willing to commit to a reverse break-up fee of $2bn payable if we are unable to consummate the transaction for antitrust reasons within 18 months. Such a fee would be among the highest reverse break-up fees that any company has agreed to.”
The US company says that its current bid represents 15.8 times Syngenta’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) for 2014, a “significantly higher” figure than seen in other deals in the sector.