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Syngenta gets fifth Bt gene patent

(Thursday, April 15, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued to Syngenta another patent covering a gene resistant to insects. Patent number 6,720,488 is the fifth in a series covering synthetic Bt genes that provide resistance to European corn borer (ECB) and the corn rootworm (CRW).

Three of the previously issued patents (see list below) are the subject of a lawsuit Syngenta filed on July 25, 2002 in Federal District Court in Wilmington, DE. The lawsuit charges that Monsanto, DeKalb Genetics, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Dow AgroSciences and Mycogen Seeds are infringing one or more of these patents with their YieldGard(R) and Herculex(TM) product lines. (In effect, the patents patents cover not just the gene(s) but also the seeds and plants.)

The lawsuit is expected to go to trial in November 2004.

Syngenta has filed a new lawsuit in Federal District Court in Wilmington, DE seeking damages and injunctive relief against the same defendants for the infringement of the latest patent. The company ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market. Sales in 2003 were approximately $6.6 billion. Syngenta employs more than 19,000 people in over 90 countries. Syngenta is listed on the Swiss stock exchange (SYNN) and in New York (SYT). Further information is available at http://www.syngenta.com .

* US Patent No. 6,075,185, US Patent No. 6,320,100, and US Patent No. 6,403,865 Source: Syngenta