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A new EU ruling limits the ambitions of companies that try to control biotechnology

By Anjana Ahuja   August 2010

Monsanto’s patent rights on its Roundup Ready soybeans have been restricted in Europe

On 6th July, a little-noticed ruling by the highest court in Europe delivered a major blow to the ambitions of agricultural giant Monsanto. The company was attempting to claim ownership of crop products bearing traces of its patented DNA sequence. The judgment represents a legal landmark because it limits what can be claimed by biotechnology companies holding patents on stretches of genetic material. In the words of one patent lawyer, a “wild west-style landgrab in the DNA landscape” has been averted.

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