Monsanto has filed suit in federal court in St. Louis against E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company and its wholly owned subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International to prevent what the company says is unlawful use of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready herbicide-tolerant technologies in soybeans and corn.

James C. Borel, DuPont group vice president, fired back in a statement accusing Monsanto of denying farmers access to alternative technologies. “The litigation filed by Monsanto is more of what we have come to expect from them,” Borel said in response to Monsanto’s filing. “Monsanto has a long history of using litigation and aggressive tactics to preserve their monopoly and attempt to intimidate customers, seed partners and competitors.”

At issue is the use of the Roundup Ready trait in Pioneer’s Optimum GAT trait. DuPont has stacked the Roundup Ready 1 trait in its forthcoming Optimum GAT soybeans. Monsanto contends that DuPont does not have the right to stack the two traits. Now a court will likely decide.

“As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Hugh Grant, Monsanto chief executive officer, says. “However, unlawfully taking technology is neither imitation nor flattery; it is unethical and wrong. A true technology company respects patents and its contractual agreements and delivers new products through its own innovation and honest collaboration. DuPont has failed on all counts.”

Borel says DuPont is “disappointed Monsanto chose litigation and inflammatory public statements over civil discourse.”

This is not the first time the two companies have gone to court over biotech products. In a previous case involving Monsanto’s YieldGard corn borer trait, it was determined by the court that Pioneer had breached its license and improperly used Monsanto’s patented technology. After that case, an agreement was reached in which Pioneer was able to continue licensed use of Monsanto’s technology.