U.S. halts antitrust probe in soy seed industry

The U.S. Department of Justice has ended an antitrust investigation into Monsanto’s soybean genetic traits business and the seed industry, the company said Friday.

The DOJ had demanded information in January 2010 from St. Louis-based Monsanto on the company’s soybean genetic trait business, after complaints that Monsanto was trying to limit access to push a new, pricier product instead.

Monsanto at the time said it would allow farmers and seed companies continued access to its first-generation Roundup Ready soybean trait, a genetic alteration that makes soybeans tolerate herbicide treatments, after the product’s patent expired in 2014.

The global agribusiness group said in a statement that it had cooperated fully with the DOJ in its investigation and that it has received written notification that the inquiry was concluded.

"We’re pleased that the (DOJ) has closed its inquiry and this issue is now behind us," said David Snively, the company’s general counsel.

Related story:
Don’t jump gun on RR patent expiry: Monsanto, Jan. 6, 2011

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