Friday, July 6, 2012
Organic farmers file appeal against Monsanto
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA
July 6 2012
Farmers and organizations file brief Appellate Court today
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Seventy-five family farmers, seed businesses, and agricultural organizations representing over 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms filed a brief today with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington asking the appellate court to reverse a lower court’s decision from February dismissing their protective legal action against agricultural giant Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered seed.
The plaintiffs brought the pre-emptive case against Monsanto in March 2011 in the Southern District of New York and specifically seek to defend themselves from nearly two dozen of Monsanto’s most aggressively asserted patents on GMO seed. They were forced to act pre-emptively to protect themselves from Monsanto’s abusive lawsuits, fearing that if GMO seed contaminates their property despite their efforts to prevent such contamination, Monsanto will sue them for patent infringement.
“It’s time to end Monsanto’s scorched earth legal campaign of threats and intimidation against America’s farmers. Family farmers should be protected by the courts against the unwanted genetic contamination of their crops,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots community of more than 300,000 farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming food and agriculture, that is co-plaintiff in the suit.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Monsanto to face biopiracy charges in India
By Lucas Laursen
Nature Biotechnology Volume: 30, Page: 11 (2012)DOI: doi:10.1038/nbt0112-11
January 09, 2012
An Indian government agency has agreed to sue the developers of genetically modified (GM) eggplant for violating India’s Biological Diversity Act of 2002. India’s National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is alleging that the developers of India’s first GM food crop—Jalna-based Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco) partnered with St. Louis–based seed giant Monsanto and several local universities—used local varieties to develop the transgenic crop, but failed to gain the appropriate licenses for field trials. At the same time, activists in Europe are claiming that patents on conventionally bred plants, including a melon found in India, filed by biotech companies violate farmers’ rights to use naturally occurring breeds. Both these pending legal cases could set important precedents for biopiracy in India and Europe. In another development in early November, the Munich-based European Patent Office referred to its Enlarged Board of Appeals a case involving conventionally bred tomatoes, which will likely shape any future enforcement of the Monsanto-owned melon patent, says Christoph Then, spokesman for advocacy group No Patents on Seeds. “It is a signal that the European Patent Office has severe doubts about this kind of patent,” he says.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Monsanto lawsuit moves to pre-trial oral arguments
By Avery Yale Kamila
January 04, 2012
A judge has ordered pre-trial oral arguments in a case pitting organic farmers against agribusiness giant Monsanto.
Headed by Maine potato farmer Jim Gerritsen, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, with legal backing from the Public Patent Foundation, filed a lawsuit in March 2011 questioning the validity of Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seeds and seeking protection from patent-infringement lawsuits for the plaintiffs should their crops become contaminated with Monsanto’s transgenic crops.
Monsanto is a leading producer of genetically modified seeds.
Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald, of the Southern District of New York, has scheduled oral arguments to be heard Jan. 31 in Manhattan on Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the case.
“We are grateful that Judge Buchwald has agreed to our request to hear oral argument on the motion,” Gerritsen said in a prepared statement. “Last August we submitted our written rebuttal and it made clear that Monsanto’s motion was without merit. Our legal team, from the Public Patent Foundation, is looking forward to orally presenting our position. The family farmers deserve their day in court. We are anxious that this case go to trial as soon as possible so that our innocent farmers may receive Court protection.”
Monsanto argues that the case is without merit.