While the Department of Justice is still investigating whether Monsanto illegally used patent protections to engage in anti-competitive behavior, and the Department has yet to make a determination as to whether it intends to pursue an anti-trust case against the company, Monsanto is busy tackling other issues.
Recently the Attorney General of West Virginia, Darrell McGraw, filed a lawsuit against the maker of Roundup, a widely used herbicide (generically known as glyphosate), for “refusing to cooperate” with the AG’s investigation of the sale of soybeans. As reported by LegalLine, in an effort to promote the sale of Monsanto’s second generation GM soybeans, Roundup Ready 2 Yield (RR 2Yield) , the company advertised that RR 2Yield plants have an increased yield of 7 to 11 percent over similar varieties of the first generation plants, whose patents, by the way, are set to expire in 2014.
The AG’s interest was sparked when “several published tests showed the results claimed by the company may not support its advertising for Roundup Ready 2 Yield, which are priced significantly higher than the first-generation seeds.” In the civil enforcement action, the AG is seeking a court order prohibiting Monsanto from selling any of its products in West Virginia until such time as it fully complies with the subpoena. “I want to ensure,” McGraw said in a statement that, “there is a fair marketplace for West Virginia farmers. They need to know if it is worth extra money to buy new products that may not live up to the hype.”
On the West Coast, in a suit against United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), in which Monsanto, among other seed companies, have intervened, Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, asked the government on October 22, 2010 to provide plaintiffs environmental groups with unredacted copies of permits the USDA issued to agricultural companies producing the altered beet seeds. As reported by Dow Jones Newswires, the Judge also told the government to provide information to him about acreage that has been planted with the genetically modified seeds.
Initially, the October 22 hearing was set to determine whether further planting of GE sugar beet seedlings should be banned and whether the Court should order the removal of those seedlings already planted.