RESPONDING TO a press release from Friends of the Earth, Bayer CropScience has said that it has “never denied access to its data on pesticices”.

In June 2003, FoE threatened to publish Bayer‘s confidential data on the Internet. Bayer then commenced legal proceedings in order to prevent such publication.

After a number of meetings between the relevant parties involved and FoE giving an undertaking not to publish or copy Bayer‘s confidential data, a settlement of the legal proceedings has been reached.

Bayer has pointed out that the action was not about denying access to its data, but rather an attempt to stop provision of copies and pulication on the Internet for use by competitors.

“Bayer CropScience‘s products are some of the most advanced in the world, meeting all of the EU requirements for efficacy and safety, and are therefore targets for copying by competitors who would obtain access to Bayer‘s confidential data as a result of Friends of the Earth‘s threats,” the company stated.

A spokesperson for Bayer CropScience said: “We have always operated a policy of openness and transparency consistent with EU and international laws seeking only to protect its industry from unlawful use by competitors.”

Bayer says it compromised by allowing FoE to obtain no more than two copies of its pesticide safety data and by requiring strict undertaking not to publish the data as well as providing a warning regarding Bayer intellectual property rights.

The company stated that its conduct indicated “concern for the public” and not bullying tactics, as suggested by FoE‘s Tony Juniper.