Settlement Reached in University of California Case Against Monsanto

Written by on Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

St. Louis-based Monsanto Company agreed today to pay the University of California more than $100 million to settle a claim that the company infringed on a University of California patent related to a hormone that makes cows produce more milk.

According to AP Business Writer Christopher Leonard, Monsanto agreed to pay the University of California $100 million in upfront royalties and 15 cents a dose, or at least $5 million annually, to license the patented technology, commonly called BST. The University’s patent rights expire in 2023.

Leonard describes the issues at the heart of this dispute as follows:

At issue is the genetically engineered bovine somatotropin hormone, sold under the brand name Posilac. Monsanto says injections of the hormone help dairy cows produce 10 percent to 15 percent more milk.

The university alleges in its lawsuit that three researchers at UC-San Francisco first isolated the DNA that is used to make the hormone. The lawsuit said that Monsanto knew about the research as early as 1985, but sold the product anyway.

Under the settlement agreement reached today, Monsanto will receive an exclusive commercial license to use the university’s patented hormone, while the University of California will have the right to use the hormone in noncommercial research and the U.S. government will also retain some rights.

Category: Biotech Disputes

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