Iowa-based Pioneer Hi-Bred has won a judgment in a patent infringement dispute with another company. Daria Schmidt is the research director for crop genetics technology at Pioneer in Johnston. Schmidt says the case involved the company’s use of genetic markers to create soybean varieties resistant to the soybean cyst nematode.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa ruled that Pioneer’s patents were valid and had been infringed upon by a company called Genome and Agricultural Biotechnology. Schmidt says the ruling upholds their D-N-A marker technology. The cyst nematode is a small roundworm that attacks soybeans, and Schmidt says the parasite causes millions of dollars of damage to soybeans in North America every year.
Schmidt says the genetic-marking technology is also used to create other varieties of seeds that’re resistant to pests. Schmidt says the technology lets breeders determine which plants are resistant to the pests and which ones are susceptible, and they throw out the susceptible ones. Pioneer, which is a subsidiary of Dupont, is not releasing the financial terms of the judgment.