the Organic Review: Farmers Battling Monsanto in Supreme Court

By on September 10, 2013

by Ali Papademetriou

Numbers of farmers have been taken to court for patent infringement by Monsanto Corporation, the largest genetically modified seed manufacturer in the world.

In order to protect its patented GM seeds, Monsanto mandates that farmers who buy its seeds sign a treaty agreeing that they only harvest one season’s seeds without saving the seeds that the crop generation produces for the next growing season.

Recently, a soybean farmer from Indiana felt the wrath from Monsanto for violating the treaty. A few months ago, the farmer, Vernon Bowman found he was wrapped up in a Supreme Court case for planting Roundup Ready soybeans, saving seeds and planting them.

In May, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto, deeming that growers can not legally replant 2nd, 3rd and so on generations of the corporation’s patented GM seeds without paying a fine. The 76-year-old farmer was slammed with an $84,000 lawsuit.

Then in June, as RT reported, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of a previous decision claiming that organic and other non-GMO farmers can not disallow Monsanto from suing them if their fields become unintentionally contaminated with GM traits due to cross-pollination.

The court ruled that it’s “because Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not ‘take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes’.” This though, is not promising enough for a group of farmers and food advocacy groups.

Last week, 73 farmers and other seed and food companies and organizations appealed a case against Monsanto to the Supreme Court. Plaintiffs of the case, OSGATA et al v. Monsanto, are hoping to confront Monsanto and ban it from suing farmers for having GM-soiled fields.

While the Court of Appeals correctly found that the farmers and seed sellers had standing to challenge Monsanto’s invalid patents, it incorrectly found that statements made by Monsanto’s lawyers during the lawsuit mooted the case,” explained Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation and lead counsel to the plaintiffs in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto, Daniel Ravicher.

As a result, we have asked the Supreme Court to take the case and reinstate the right of the plaintiffs to seek full protection from Monsanto’s invalid transgenic seed patents,” he went on to detail.

The case was first filed pre-emptively in March of 2011 to protect the farmers from any potential lawsuits stemming from their crops containing GM traits from cross-pollination.

We have been farming for almost forty years and we have never wanted anything to do with Monsanto,” explained Jim Gerristen who is an organic seed farmer in Maine, in addition to President of lead Plaintiff OSGATA.

We believe we have the right to farm and grow good food the way we choose. We don’t think it’s fair that Monsanto can trespass onto our farm, contaminate and ruin our crops and then sue us for infringing on other patent rights,” he said. “We don’t want one penny from Monsanto.”

American farmers deserve their day in Court so we can prove to the world Monsanto’s genetically engineered patents are invalid and that farmers deserve protection from Monsanto’s abuse.”

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  1. Robert Openshaw

    September 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Monsanto is an abomination to America, give our farmers and honest citizens the whip. it was unconstitutional for Monsanto to gain complete immunity from prosecution, it was unconstitutional to poison and murder thusands of people and counting, only to move to a new location and do the same thing.

    That includes the Monsanto scum within our government, whom couldn’t POSSIBLY be responsible for giving themselves the immunity from prosecution in the first place. the blame goes to all of congress for allowing this to happen, and Obama as well for signing the damn papers and allowing it to happen.

    • Robert Openshaw

      September 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      and us for not cracking the whip… x(

  2. Lucy

    September 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    These hardworking American farmers need to be stood up for and protected from Monsanto and their crafty devices. Everyone deserves good food to eat that does not cause illness!

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