Viptera, also known as MIR162, was created by Syngenta as a corn seed that prevented corn pests from attacking the crop. It was widely sold for the 2011 crop year. It was during this time that industry participants began to worry about the lack of China Viptera approval. Syngenta, however, expanded sales for the next crop years to allegedly benefit from their monopoly on the MIR162 corn trait.In 2013, China rejected Viptera entirely, meaning that any corn exports containing even a trace of MIR162 were sent back. This resulted in a wide rejection of U.S. corn, as Syngenta corn had contaminated most of the crops. It was estimated that between $1 billion and $2.9 billion were lost due to Syngenta’s actions.
The class action lawsuit states, “Syngenta actively misled farmers, industry participants and others about the importance of the Chinese market . . . the timing of when China was likely to approve MIR162 . . . and its ability to contain the infiltration of [Viptera] into the U.S. corn supply.”
The class action lawsuit also points out that a new GMO corn seed was released for the 2014 crop year that has also not received China approval.
Syngenta LawsuitsMany Syngenta lawsuits and class action lawsuits have been filed against the company, claiming the defendant misled those involved in the corn industry so they could better profit on their monopoly of MIR162.
The plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit include Kenneth Borah, a Texas resident who planted, harvested, and sold Syngenta corn. Plaintiff Scott Lemke, Otis Shinn, William Keller White, Linda Cain Wilson, and the Wright Family LP are also named plaintiffs in this Syngenta lawsuit. All were involved in the corn industry and allegedly suffered from significant financial losses because of Syngenta’s Viptera corn.
Counts in this class action lawsuit include violation of the Lanham Act, negligence, tortious interference with existing and/or prospective business relationships, trespass to chattels, private nuisance, violations of state deceptive and unfair trade practices acts and consumer protection statutes, among other claims.
It is expected that this class action lawsuit will be consolidated into the Syngenta multidistrict litigation in Kansas, where a large number of claims concerning MIR162 have already been consolidated.