Monsanto Escapes US Supreme Court Hearing on Seed Patents

Posted on Jan 13 2014 - 10:16pm by Sustainable Pulse

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld Monsanto’s biotech seed patents, dealing a blow to Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) who were attempting to ward off lawsuits by the company against farmers.

OSGATA, made up of 83 organic and conventional family farmers, seed companies and public advocacy interests, sued Monsanto in March 2011 seeking to prohibit the company from suing them if their fields became inadvertently contaminated with its patented genetic traits for corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and other crops.

The specialty seeds are genetically engineered to withstand dousings of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

“The Supreme Court failed to grasp the extreme predicament family farmers find themselves in,” said Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen, President of OSGATA. “The Court of Appeals agreed our case had merit.  However, the safeguards they ordered are insufficient to protect our farms and our families. This high court which gave corporations the ability to patent life forms in 1980, and under Citizens United in 2010 gave corporations the power to buy their way to election victories, has now in 2014 denied farmers the basic right of protecting themselves from the notorious patent bully Monsanto.”

“The Appellate Court decision could leave Canadian farmers out in the cold because their protection may not extend to Canada at all,” said Saskatchewan organic grain farmer Arnold Taylor, a member of plaintiff member Canadian Organic Growers (COG). “Like many Canadian farmers, we sell crop into the United States and can therefore be liable to claims of patent infringement by Monsanto.”

OSGATA asked Monsanto for a pledge not to sue, but the company refused, saying: “A blanket covenant not to sue any present or future member of petitioners’ organizations would enable virtually anyone to commit intentional infringement.”

The biotech crops are widely used throughout the United States. Monsanto has sued more than 100 farmers for patent infringement, winning judgments against those found to have made use of its seed without paying required royalties.

OSGATA lost the case in the district court and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

“Monsanto never has and has committed it never will sue if our patented seed or traits are found in a farmer’s field as a result of inadvertent means,” said Kyle McClain, the company’s chief litigation counsel.

“The lower courts agreed there was no controversy between the parties,” McClain added, “and the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the case brings closure on this matter.”



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3 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. sarah mason January 13, 2014 at 23:11 - Reply

    Nothing more clearly states the absolute corruption of US Justice system than the allowance by its courts and Antitrust division for Monsanto to patent life, contaminate the food system, pollute the environment, maim humanity, and steal the rights of people to procure food of their choice. I am ashamed of this government.

  2. Angela January 14, 2014 at 16:48 - Reply

    We need some sort of revolt or uprising. Chances of that happening in North America are slim, though. People are lacking passion, especially for their food. Governments and Corporations do what they do because they know they can get away with it. The same goes for the Supreme Court. I am ashamed as well, but not only of Government, but the passivity and apathy of our citizens. It is very sad, though, when the legal system is just as corrupt as the rest. What, then, is our recourse?

    • jeri January 17, 2014 at 08:32 - Reply

      Angela I think you are right and wrong. Yes we need a revolt. But I think the chances of it happening a excellent. It is coming. Keep educating people. keep posting, keep talking, keep learning and keep an open mind… When enough people know that their children are being poisoned, change will happen, people will rise up. I know I will, I will march right along with you!!

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