By FWi staff

MONSANTO has lost a court battle that opponents believed could have had a severe impact on the generic agrochemical industry and led to higher input costs for farmers.

The chemical giant took the Pesticides Safety Directorate to the European Court of Justice over its decision to grant a licence to Irish-based Clayton Plant Protection for Rhizeup, a generic copy of Monsantos glyphosate herbicide Roundup.

Monsanto claimed that ongoing research should be subject to the same 10-year embargo as original safety and efficacy data effect, effectively shutting the door on generic products.

However, Roundup product manager, John Davis, said the issue was never about stifling competition. “We were simply protecting our intellectual property.”

Others doubt this was the real motive.

“If Monsanto had won the case it would have taken out of production all the cheap chemicals on the market,” said Adam Lesniewski, president of the European Crop Chemical Association, which represents generic manufacturers.

Some have pronounced the result an “historic victory”, with a flood of cheaper chemicals likely to become available. But the Crop Protection Association believes it will simply preserve the status quo.

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