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DuPont Says Seed Availability Unaffected by Ruling

DuPont Co., the world’s second-largest seed company, said plans to provide insect-resistant corn seed for planting next year through its ProAccess unit are unaffected by an adverse federal court ruling this month.

DuPont’s Pioneer unit violated a 1995 agreement with Dow Chemical Co. by distributing the seed through ProAccess in bags that didn’t properly display the Pioneer brand, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt in Indianapolis ruled on Nov. 9. DuPont can sell the trait developed with Dow only through Pioneer and affiliates.

ProAccess distributes Pioneer seed through independent companies that collectively have about 5 percent of the U.S. corn and soybean markets, said Doyle Karr, a Pioneer spokesman. Seeds with the Herculex insecticide trait will be available to ProAccess customers as planned for 2011 planting, he said today.

“ProAccess distribution companies will continue to provide growers with high-performing corn seed containing Herculex insect traits and Pioneer genetics,” Karr said in a statement.

Pioneer may modify the design of some bags for the 2011-2012 season to comply with the ruling, he said.

Dow’s Mycogen seed unit filed the lawsuit. Dow said in a statement today that DuPont also breached the collaboration agreement by “improperly sublicensing” the Herculex trait to ProAccess seed companies, an issue that will be resolved at trial in January.

“Mycogen believes the trial is about more than just the ‘look’ of the bag,” Midland, Michigan-based Dow said in the e-mailed statement. “We look forward to expanding our opportunities with” ProAccess seed companies in the future.

DuPont is considering an appeal and other legal options to address its concerns about the ruling, Karr said.

DuPont, based in Wilmington, Delaware, fell 30 cents to $46.80 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Dow declined 21 cents to $31.50. Monsanto Co., the world’s biggest seed company, rose 45 cents to $59.90.

The case is Agrigenetics Inc. vs. Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., 1:08-cv-00802 U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis).

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