Biotechnology giant Monsanto has been cleared of making a US$174.5m payment to seed producer Mycogen, after the California Supreme Court ruled yesterday [Thursday] that a jury award in the plant gene technology dispute was improper.

Dow Chemical subsidiary Mycogen first sued Monsanto in 1993, when it alleged that the firm had breached a licensing contract. By 1998, Mycogen sought damages from a jury trial for lost future profits for lost seed sales. It was awarded US$174.5m by the jury, but Monsanto and an appellate court overturned the award in June 2000.

Mycogen took the case to the California Supreme Court when it appealed the appellate court decision.

Robert Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer, said in a statement: "We're delighted that […] this litigation is at an end.

"We hope this sets the stage for us to work with Mycogen in order to bring these important plant technologies to farmers around the world."