Makhteshim, BASF Tussle Over Fipronil Formulation Technology
Makhteshim Agan Group (MAI) and Control Solutions Inc. (CSI) will continue manufacturing, marketing and sales of their fipronil-based Taurus SC product despite a recent court filing by BASF. BASF recently filed a motion for contempt in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, alleging violation to the October 2010 Consent Judgment regarding the process patent via a “material change” in MAI’s manufacturing of fipronil, according to an MAI press release.
MAI’s response to BASF allegations is that there has been no change at all nor any material change in the manufacturing process of fipronil. MAI manufactures fipronil using proprietary technology and has filed a patent application to protect its intellectual property rights to this process. In October 2010, BASF and Bayer agreed that the MAI proprietary process used to make fipronil for Taurus SC did not infringe BASF’s process patent, according to MAI. Litigation related to BASF and Bayer use patents was resolved in Makhteshim Agan North America’s (MANA) and CSI’s favor earlier this year.
Shaul Friedland, Head of MAI’s Americas region says, “In the immediate matter, BASF has not accepted our offer to discuss the issue nor have they made any good faith effort to avoid court interaction. BASF has also refused the invitation to tour the plant where fipronil is manufactured as a way to verify that the process and materials used are unchanged in any way. We found this rejection to be revealing regarding what we assume to be the underlying objective of the recent filing. MAI remains steadfast in their belief that the Court will deny BASF’s motion and will recognize BASF’s ongoing efforts as an attempt to disrupt the marketplace and distributor relationships. MAI and CSI will defend their legal rights to compete in the marketplace with Taurus SC.”
Mark Boyd, President and CEO of CSI says, MANA and CSI are opposing BASF’s motion and will continue to seek all available legal remedies to resolve the matter.
“In the immediate future, CSI will continue its sales initiatives which started after the court ruled in our favor last year,” Mr. Boyd says. “The addition of Taurus SC to our portfolio positions CSI as the leading company in the termite segment. Taurus SC gained the customers trust and sales continue to strengthen which is a positive response to marketplace demand. ”
In June 2011, MAI’s affiliate CSI launched sales of fipronil based products under the brand names Taurus SC for the professional pest control market and Prefurred for companion animal use.
Fipronil is utilized for termite prevention and treatment, flea, ant and tick control, and as a broad-spectrum insecticide for crop markets in a variety of branded products throughout the world. The active ingredient is used in crop protection mainly for treatment of cotton, potatoes, rice and seed treatment in addition to broad uses for non-crop applications.
Source: Makhteshim Agan, edited by David Frabotta, FCI editor