The Department of Justice has issued a civil investigative demand (CID) to request information on Monsanto's soybean business practices. The demand is aimed primarily at Monsanto's claim that it will not block access to the GM soybean at issue once the patent expires in 2014.
Monsanto is currently under investigation by the DOJ for complaints of anticompetitive behavior involving its RoundUp Ready seed technology.
CIDs can consist of a request for the production of documents, a demand for oral or deposition testimony, service of interrogatories requiring a written response, or a combination of the above. CIDs can be a more powerful device than subpoenas, which are limited to document request. Through using CIDs, the government can conduct discovery before the defendent has a chance to conduct its own discovery.
Monsanto's press release on the CID can be found here.