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Europe OK's Patent for Monsanto's Roundup-Ready Seeds

Monsanto's headquarters in Creve Coeur, Mo.
Monsanto's headquarters in Creve Coeur, Mo.


Frankfurt – The European Patent Office has ruled that St. Louis-based Monsanto has the right to patent herbicide-resistant seeds in Europe.

A spokesman for the agency says the ruling would be published later this year.

The patent originally was awarded by the Munich-based office in 1996. It applies to Monsanto's Roundup Ready genetically modified seeds which are, in turn, resistant to the company's Roundup herbicides.

But the patent has been the subject of a long legal battle with Switzerland-based Monsanto rival Syngenta AG and Greenpeace Deutschland.

Both appealed the initial patent in 1997, arguing that plant varieties cannot be patented.

Monsanto's genetically engineered seed sales are booming, and it expects the growth to continue as it expands outside the United States.