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Soybean Merchandising Council wins appeal in IP case


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council won in appellate court Tuesday in an ongoing case against AgBorn Genetics.

The Western District Appeals Court affirmed another $60,000 sanctions award to the MSMC after a circuit court found in 2016 that certain Agborn executives improperly licensed MSMC’s proprietary soybean technologies. The two executives at the center of the case included Bill Stemme, MSMC’s former director of identity preservation, which protects different seeds and crops from intermingling as they make their way to market.

MSMC alleged that Stemme, who worked for AgBorn and MSMC simultaneously, had given special versions of soybean strain information to AgBorn.

The eight-person jury ruled in favor of the MSMC  last year and granted them a total of $602,945 in damages in due royalties for using the technology.

In Tuesday’s case, the appeals court maintained the circuit court’s ruling and granted an additional $60,000 to the MSMC.

“It’s another great day for Missouri soybean farmers and their investments into new technologies, including non-transgenic high oleic soybean,” Gary Wheeler, the CEO/Executive Director of the MSMC and Missouri Soybean Association, said in a statement. “This is one of the last steps to cleaning up the ill-directed decisions and management by past executive staff. The soybean farmers of Missouri are fortunate to have such great farmer leaders for their industry representing the merchandising council and should be proud. Transparency and financial stewardship are their top priority.”

There’s no word yet on whether or not Agborn will continue with litigation.