This weekend’s Associated Press article on Monsanto’s licensing agreements with companies missed the mark on the real facts behind our business and our licensing approach, including:
- Our business has grown tremendously over the years thanks to a number of factors – an early investment in biotechnology, adding new approaches to historic breeding, and a decision to broadly license the results of those investments to anyone who wanted them, including our biggest direct competitors. We understand this scale of success brings scrutiny.
- The growth of our business cannot be attributed to any forced use by customers or to blocking any competitors. Our licenses enable the use of our traits; they do not require the use of our traits. Seed companies and farmers are free to move completely away from Monsanto traits at any time. It’s a choice they make every single season. If competitors invented a more attractive option, the industry could move to it immediately. Monsanto works hard to offer better and more valuable products because that is the only way we keep anyone’s business.
- A depiction that somehow our actions are hurting small companies is just plain wrong. The facts are no seed company has invested more in the last ten years to bring new seed products to farmers than Monsanto, and no company has done more to broadly license those inventions than Monsanto. This includes licensing both seed genetics and trait technologies. Monsanto led the way in making its inventions broadly available to other seed companies.
- No company has done more to enable stacked trait product offerings than Monsanto. That includes licensing competitive traits as well. You can review our position on stacking here. For a complete list of current corn and soybean trait offerings click here. In visiting this link, you’ll see that we’ve worked with a number of globally integrated companies to develop stacked trait products and offer them to growers.
- We do treat small local companies differently and for good reason. That said, if they wanted to make a stack, we are open to those discussions. Thus far, these discussions have occurred with integrated trait developers not with small local seed companies because no one has asked. Why do we do it differently? Because unless that small local company can gain regulatory approvals globally, every farmer growing corn or beans could be impacted by lower commodity prices due to the loss of export markets. Technologies that don’t have U.S. regulatory clearance and/or clearance in certain markets can disrupt trade and you’ve seen a couple of examples of this over the last decade. It’s sad that the quoted experts failed to point this obvious fact out.
- Our licensing agreements, which have been used to support the development of and availability of these products, are pro-competitive and have enabled literally hundreds of seed companies – including all of our major direct competitors – to offer thousands of new seed products to farmers. We do not believe there is any merit to these allegations about our licensing agreements.
- Importantly, while we are proud to serve farmers and seed companies alike, we recognize that there are many choices for them to do business with – including hundreds of seed companies and multiple trait providers. Just take a look at the investor presentations of our competitors if you don’t believe us.