Terminator Seeds Back In Court: Organic Farmers Mosanto Lawsuit
Judged Dismissed Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto
03/28/2012 | 03:53 PM
An organization representing organic farmers and seed growers is appealing a judges decision which dismissed their lawsuit against agriculture giant Mosanto and its patents on genetically modified or engineered seeds.
The Organic Seed Growers Trade Association said in a press release that "Farmers have the right to protect themselves from being falsely accused of patent infringement by Monsanto before they are contaminated by Monsanto's transgenic seed," said Dan Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), a not-for-profit legal services organization based at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law that represents the plaintiffs. "Judge Buchwald erred by denying plaintiffs that right and they have now initiated the process of having her decision reversed."
In February Judge Naomi Buchwal dismissed the lawsuit which challenged the company's patents on its genetically modified seeds and seeks to prohibit Monsanto from suing the farmers or dealers if their organic seed becomes contaminated with Monsanto's patented biotech seed germplasm.
Organic Seed Growers Trade Association Notice of Appeal Against Mosanto(PDF)
The genetically modified seeds - also called "terminator seeds" - are seeds that are essentially sterile after a harvest so that farmers can't reuse the seeds.
Reuters says Mosanto is known for being aggressive in pursuing farmers who illegally use such seeds. Some farmers claim that they have no desire to use the Mosanto seeds but simply the wind blew the seeds over from adjacent farms.
According to Reuters " Monsanto filed 144 patent-infringement lawsuits against farmers between 1997 and April 2010, and won judgments against farmers it said made use of its seed without paying required royalties. Many U.S. farmers have said their fields were inadvertently contaminated with Monsanto's biotech seeds without their knowledge. The issue has been a topic of concern for not only farmers, but also companies that clean and handle seed."
The press release goes on to say "America's farmers deserve to be protected under the law from the unwanted genetic contamination of their crops by Monsanto's flawed genetically engineered seed technology," said David Murphy, founder and Executive Director of Food Democracy Now!, an Iowa-based national advocacy organization of more than 300,000 members. "These farmers have no desire to use Monsanto's GMO seeds, yet they are forced into the untenable position of losing their right to farm in the manner in which they choose, face legal intimidation and the loss of economic livelihood, all because America's legal system has failed to adequately protect them from the real threat of genetic trespass that is inherent as a result of Monsanto's patented GMO seeds and the natural biological functions of cross pollination from wind, insects or animals."
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