Makhteshim Wins BASF Insecticide-Patent Lawsuit in U.S.

Makhteshim-Agan Industries Ltd. (MAIN), the world’s largest maker of generic agrochemicals, said it won a lawsuit brought by BASF SE (BAS) that had accused the company of infringing insecticide patents.

Makhteshim’s insecticides using the chemical fipronil don’t infringe two BASF patents, U.S. District Judge William Osteen in Greensboro, North Carolina, ruled yesterday, according to a statement by Makhteshim. Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF, the world’s biggest chemical company, had claimed Makhteshim violated patents that cover the Termidor insecticide.

Termidor, which has been sold for more than 10 years, is the top-selling termite product in the U.S. Makhteshim, based in Israel, said it introduced the first generic version of fipronil in June with its Taurus and Prefurred pest-control products. BASF said in a statement it would appeal the ruling, and the decision doesn’t affect the validity or enforceability of its manufacturing patents for fipronil.

BASF also had sued Cheminova A/S over the same technology. The companies agreed to settle that case, BASF said, and Cheminova won’t make or sell its fipronil product until the patents expire. Further terms weren’t disclosed, BASF said.

China National Chemical Corp. bought a 60 percent stake in Makhteshim in an agreement that valued the agrochemical company at $2.4 billion.

The cases are BASF Agro B.V. Arnhem Wadenswil Branch v. Cheminova Inc., 10-cv-00274, and BASF Agro B.V. Arnhem v. Makhteshim Agan of North America, 10-cv-00276, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina.

To contact the reporters on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net

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