A Very Important Lawsuit Against Monsanto to Protect Organic Farmers
As documented in the organic food movies Food, Inc. and The Future of Food, Monsanto uses its tremendous financial muscle to put the major squeeze on organic farmers. What is Monsanto doing exactly?
Monsanto will go onto the properties of organic farmers, collect samples of the soil, detect that its GMO-seeds are in the soil of the organic farmers, and then file lawsuits against these organic farmers.
The organic farmers have never purchased these patented seeds of Monsanto but the organic soil has been contaminated by these GMO-seeds from the wind, bees or some other method.
Nevertheless, Monsanto sues these organic farmers for patent infringement.
The chemical giant uses its massive financial leverage to force organic farmers to fight them in court (which most organic farmers cannot afford to do) or pay penalties and switch to buying Monsanto’s GMO-seeds.
These legal tactics have been used many times before and ruin lives of organic farmers, even though the farmers have done absolutely nothing wrong. Furthermore, many courts in the past have ruled in favor of Monsanto’s claims, which is absolutely absurd.
Unwilling to let this injustice continue, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), on behalf of many organic farmers and other agricultural organizations, has just filed a lawsuit against Monsanto in federal court challenging its patents of genetically-modified seeds.
“This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic and other farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s genetically modified seed should land on their property,” said Dan Ravicher, lead attorney in the case and PUBPAT’s Executive Director and Lecturer of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. “It seems quite perverse that a farmer contaminated by GM seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients.”
PUBPAT wants to get a ruling from the court that protects organic farmers from future Monsanto lawsuits if the farmers’ soil ever gets contaminated by Monsanto’s GMO-seeds.
One basis for the ruling would be that the patents are invalid because they don’t meet the “usefulness” requirement of patent law.
My Take: This is a very important lawsuit, which hopefully will put an end to Monsanto’s bullying of small organic farmers who do not have the financial resources to defend themselves.
It makes no sense that organic farmers, who have done nothing wrong, have their livelihood at stake because nearby GMO-seeds have contaminated their organic land.
The courts need to do the right thing here and rule in favor of the plaintiffs. I’ll be monitoring this lawsuit and will keep you posted as news becomes available.
Also, if you have not seen Food, Inc. or The Future of Food, please do so. In these documentaries you will see first-hand what Monsanto is doing to organic farmers and how these lawsuits devastate their lives.