Nov 13, 2019Syngenta sues Atticus over patent issue
Syngenta announced Nov. 12 that it has sued agrochemical maker Atticus LLC (“Atticus”) for patent infringement.
According to a Syngenta press release, the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, alleges, among other things, that Atticus’ Acadia 2 SC, Acadia ESQ, Aquila XL, Artavia 2 SC and Artavia Xcel products each infringe certain Syngenta patents relating to the manufacture of azoxystrobin fungicide.
Atticus said in press release it would defend itself against Syngenta’s “false” allegations and “meritless” lawsuit.
According to Atticus’ statement, at issue are Syngenta’s two existing patents, protecting very specific methods of manufacturing azoxystrobin, and “as Syngenta itself has stated, ‘there are many ways to manufacture azoxystrobin.'”
“Contrary to Syngenta’s allegations, the azoxystrobin products from Atticus do not infringe on Syngenta’s narrow process patents,” said Atticus CEO Randy Canady. “Any allegation to the contrary is false, and Atticus will vigorously defend itself in court and in the marketplace.”
According to Syngenta, Atticus’ infringement enables it to unfairly compete in the crop protection market and benefit from significant product development investments made by Syngenta, the original developer of azoxystrobin. The lawsuit seeks to permanently stop Atticus’ infringement of Syngenta’s intellectual property rights, to recover damages adequate to compensate Syngenta for Atticus’ infringement, and to obtain other equitable and monetary relief.
Syngenta said in the news release it has invested significant resources in researching, developing and ultimately commercializing azoxystrobin, a breakthrough fungicidal chemical, which effectively controls a variety of plant diseases and enhances the yield of crops, including cereals – such as wheat and barley, fruits, vegetables, bananas, rice, soybeans, corn, turf and ornamentals. Syngenta has marketed a number of azoxystrobin products, including those under the trade names Abound, Heritage, Quadris and Quilt.
Syngenta said it continues making significant investments to develop new products that meet growers’ needs. The stringent regulatory approval process and high cost of research and development for new crop protection chemistries require a major commitment: the average time to bring a new crop protection product to market is up to 11 years and can cost $286 million.
Atticus said in a release it is committed to operational excellence and serving its customers reliably. The company “respects the intellectual property of its competitors and works diligently to ensure that it can offer unpatented, competitively priced azoxystrobin products that give retail distribution and farmers in this country the ability to choose what is right for their businesses,” according to the release.
“In this instance, our counsel even engaged with Syngenta’s counsel so they could confirm that our products are not infringing on their patents,” Canady said. “Rather than accept that offer, Syngenta filed suit with incomplete information and without diligently investigating the facts.”
“It should also be noted that Atticus has been selling azoxystrobin for multiple growing seasons and Syngenta obviously knew that,” Canady said. “Rather than working with us to understand and learn why Atticus is not infringing on their patents, Syngenta ran to court and filed this lawsuit, with an instantaneous press release, in a clear attempt to harm our company’s reputation.”