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Cargill releases statement in response to genetic patent appeal

Beef Central, 22/02/2018

Cargill Australia has issued a statement to Beef Central today in relation to the ongoing Federal Court of Australia court action by Meat & Livestock Australia and Dairy Australia seeking to overturn a patent granted to Cargill and Branhaven LLC over genetic cattle selection methods in Australia.

At MLA’s Livestock Breeding and Genetics Forum in Brisbane yesterday MLA MD Richard Norton called on Cargill not to support Branhaven in the narrowing of the patent claim to satisfy the orders of Federal Court Justice Jonathan Beach, handed down on February 9.

“To resubmit their claim to narrow it down they (Branhaven) need the permission 0f their JV partners Cargill,” Mr Norton said.

“And I am requesting Cargill, either Cargill Australia or Cargill USA, that they do not support Branhaven in the narrowing of their claim.

“If that happens the whole issue is over and done with.”

Beef Central sought comment from Cargill Australia on the matter, and in a statement today Cargill said it was limited in the comments it could make publicly, but said it was not accurate to say the outcome of the case is currently in Cargill’s hands.

This is Cargill’s full statement:

Co-ownership of patents has different meanings throughout the world.  In Australia, by default, co-ownership means that one owner cannot act without the other owner’s consent.  As a general proposition, this particular default position can be changed by agreement between the parties.

Cargill filed a submitting notice in October 2016 agreeing to accept the outcome of the appeal (which it did not appear in).  The matter is not yet concluded – the judge has not made orders and it is not appropriate for Cargill to comment on what the outcome will be. Unfortunately, in order to comply with all of our legal and contractual obligations, we cannot comment any further. However, it is not accurate to say “the ball is in Cargill’s court” or the outcome “is in Cargill’s hands” in relation to these particular proceedings.

It should be noted that Cargill has been served with a freezing order made by the Supreme Court of Victoria in respect of the assets of Branhaven LLC, which include its interest in the Patent application.  The freezing order prohibits all dealings with the Patent Application by Branhaven LLC. Cargill has been placed on notice by Branhaven LLC’s former solicitors that any steps taken by Cargill which would facilitate a dealing with Branhaven LLC’s interest in the Patent Application would be a most serious matter and may amount to a contempt of Court.  Cargill acknowledges and respects the freezing order made by the Supreme Court of Victoria and will not be taking any steps which would breach the freezing orders.

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