Swiss biotech firm Syngenta has said today that it considers a lawsuit filed against it by US competitor Monsanto as groundless.

Monsanto said this week that it had filed suit against Syngenta for alleged infringement of Monsanto’s patent covering the technique used in producing glyphosate-tolerant plants, including the GA21 glyphosate-tolerance trait in corn. Monsanto said its lawsuit requests a permanent injunction against Syngenta to prevent the commercial sale in the US of any Syngenta corn that uses Monsanto’s patented technology.

“This case is totally without merit,” said David Jones, head of business development at Syngenta. “We are delighted to have secured worldwide ownership of commercially proven glyphosate tolerance technology for corn which we intend to make available to growers in the 2005 season. We are entirely satisfied with our decision and have the intellectual property rights we need to commercialise this product. Monsanto’s lawsuit is a flagrant attempt to intimidate customers and restrict choice in the market.”

Syngenta had announced on 12 May that it had acquired rights to a commercially successful glyphosate tolerance technology in corn from Bayer CropScience.