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--DuPont, Monsanto reach $1.75 billion licensing agreement
--Agreement gives DuPont access to Monsanto-developed seed traits
--Companies agree to dismiss $1 billion jury verdict against DuPont
By Ian Berry
Rivals DuPont Co. (DD) and Monsanto Co. (MON) have struck a series of technology licensing agreements for genetically modified seed traits and agreed to dismiss a $1 billion jury verdict against DuPont.
DuPont will pay Monsanto a total of $1.75 billion for the seed licensing agreements, which will allow the company to use Monsanto-developed traits in its own corn and soybean seeds.
The agreements extend to products that Monsanto will soon bring to the market, such as a soybean seed that survives application of the herbicide dicamba, as well as existing Monsanto products whose patents are expiring in the coming years.
The two seed companies have engaged in bitter patent disputes in recent years. Monsanto scored a huge victory last year when a federal jury in St. Louis awarded it $1 billion for patent infringement. DuPont Pioneer, the company's seed business, had vowed to appeal that verdict, and had filed its own counter lawsuit, alleging anti-competitive practices. As part of Monday's agreement, the two companies are dropping all legal disputes over patents.
"We want to focus on the marketplace, and get away from the courtroom," DuPont Pioneer President Paul Schickler said in an interview.
The two companies vie for dominance in the U.S. corn and soybean market, which accounts for more than 180 million planted acres across the U.S.