Apr 01

Lawsuit Filed To Protect Themselves from Unfair Patent Enforcement on Genetically Modified Seed

Action Would Prohibit Biotechnology Giant from Suing Organic Farmers and Seed Growers If Innocently Contaminated by Roundup Ready Genes

NEW York: On behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit today against Monsanto Company challenging the chemical giant’s patents on genetically modified seed. The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should their crops ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed.

Monsanto has sued farmers in the United States and Canada, in the past, when their patented genetic material has inadvertently contaminated their crops.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found at:
(http://www.pubpat.org/assets/files/seed/OSGATA-v-Monsanto-Complaint.pdf)

The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald. Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it. The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers.

“This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed or pollen should land on their property,” said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s Executive Director. “It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic 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.”

Once released into the environment, genetically modified seed can contaminate and destroy organic seed for the same crop. For example, soon after Monsanto introduced genetically modified seed for canola, organic canola became virtually impossible to grow as a result of contamination.

Organic corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets and alfalfa also face the same fate, as Monsanto has released genetically modified seed for each of those crops as well.

Monsanto is currently developing genetically modified seed for many other crops, thus putting the future of all food, and indeed all agriculture, at stake.

“Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here. Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now,” stated Jim Gerritsen, a family farmer in Maine who raises organic seed and is President of lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. “Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace – to decide what kind of food they will feed their families.”

“Family-scale farmers desperately need the judiciary branch of our government to balance the power Monsanto is able to wield in the marketplace and in the courts,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for The Cornucopia Institute, one of the plaintiffs. “Monsanto, and the biotechnology industry, have made great investments in our executive and legislative branches through campaign contributions and powerful lobbyists in Washington.”

In the case, PUBPAT is asking Judge Buchwald to declare that if organic farmers are ever contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed, they need not fear also being accused of patent infringement. One reason justifying this result is that Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed are invalid because they don’t meet the “usefulness” requirement of patent law, according to PUBPAT’s Ravicher, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in the case.

“Evidence cited by PUBPAT in its opening filing today proves that genetically modified seed has negative economic and health effects, while the promised benefits of genetically modified seed – increased production and decreased herbicide use – are false,” added Ravicher who is also a Lecturer of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York.

Ravicher continued, “Some say transgenic seed can coexist with organic seed, but history tells us that’s not possible, and it’s actually in Monsanto’s financial interest to eliminate organic seed so that they can have a total monopoly over our food supply,” said Ravicher. “Monsanto is the same chemical company that previously brought us Agent Orange, DDT, PCB’s and other toxins, which they said were safe, but we know are not. Now Monsanto says transgenic seed is safe, but evidence clearly shows it is not.”

The plaintiffs in the suit represented by PUBPAT are: Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association; Organic Crop Improvement Association International, Inc.; OCIA Research and Education Inc.; The Cornucopia Institute; Demeter Association, Inc.; Navdanya International; Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.; Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont; Rural Vermont; Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association; Southeast Iowa Organic Association; Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society; Mendocino Organic Network; Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance; Canadian Organic Growers; Family Farmer Seed Cooperative; Sustainable Living Systems; Global Organic Alliance; Food Democracy Now!; Family Farm Defenders Inc.; Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund; FEDCO Seeds Inc.; Adaptive Seeds, LLC; Sow True Seed; Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds; Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., LLC; Comstock, Ferre & Co., LLC; Seedkeepers, LLC; Siskiyou Seeds; Countryside Organics; Cuatro Puertas; Interlake Forage Seeds Ltd.; Alba Ranch; Wild Plum Farm; Gratitude Gardens; Richard Everett Farm, LLC; Philadelphia Community Farm, Inc; Genesis Farm; Chispas Farms LLC; Kirschenmann Family Farms Inc.; Midheaven Farms; Koskan Farms; California Cloverleaf Farms; North Outback Farm; Taylor Farms, Inc.; Jardin del Alma; Ron Gargasz Organic Farms; Abundant Acres; T & D Willey Farms; Quinella Ranch; Nature’s Way Farm Ltd.; Levke and Peter Eggers Farm; Frey Vineyards, Ltd.; Bryce Stephens; Chuck Noble; LaRhea Pepper; Paul Romero; and, Donald Wright Patterson, Jr.

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Dr. Carol Goland, Ph.D., Executive Director of plaintiff Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) said, “Consumers indicate, overwhelmingly, that they prefer foods made without genetically modified organisms. Organic farms, by regulation, may not use GMOs, while other farmers forego using them for other reasons. Yet the truth is that we are rapidly approaching the tipping point when we will be unable to avoid GMOs in our fields and on our plates. That is the inevitable consequence of releasing genetically engineered materials into the environment. To add injury to injury, Monsanto has a history of suing farmers whose fields have been contaminated by Monsanto’s GMOs. On behalf of farmers who must live under this cloud of uncertainty and risk, we are compelled to ask the Court to put an end to this unconscionable business practice.”

Rose Marie Burroughs of plaintiff California Cloverleaf Farms said, “The devastation caused by GMO contamination is an ecological catastrophe to our world equal to the fall out of nuclear radiation. Nature, farming and health are all being affected by GMO contamination. We must protect our world by protecting our most precious, sacred resource of seed sovereignty. People must have the right to the resources of the earth for our sustenance. We must have the freedom to farm that causes no harm to the environment or to other people. We must protect the environment, farmers’ livelihood, public health and people’s right to non GMO food contamination.”

Jim Gerritsen, a family farmer in Maine who raises organic seed and is President of lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association based in Montrose, Colorado, said, “Today is Independence Day for America. Today we are seeking protection from the Court and putting Monsanto on notice. Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here. Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace – to decide what kind of food they will feed their families
– and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose. Organic farmers have the right to raise our organic crops for our families and our customers on our farms without the threat of invasion by Monsanto’s genetic contamination and without harassment by a reckless polluter. Beginning today, America asserts her right to justice and pure food.”

Ed Maltby, Executive Director of plaintiff Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) said, “It’s outrageous that we find ourselves in a situation where the financial burden of GE contamination will fall on family farmers who have not asked for or contributed to the growth of GE crops. Family farmers will face contamination of their crops by GE seed which will threaten their ability to sell crops as organically certified or into the rapidly growing ‘Buy Local’ market where consumers have overwhelmingly declared they do not want any GE crops, and then family farmers may be faced by a lawsuit by Monsanto for patent infringement. We take this action to protect family farms who once again have to bear the consequences of irresponsible actions by Monsanto.”

David L. Rogers, Policy Advisor for plaintiff NOFA Vermont said, “Vermont’s farmers have worked hard to meet consumers’ growing demand for certified organic and non-GE food. It is of great concern to them that Monsanto’s continuing and irresponsible marketing of GE crops that contaminate non-GE plantings will increasingly place their local and regional markets at risk and threaten their livelihoods.”

Dewane Morgan of plaintiff Midheaven Farms in Park Rapids, Minnesota, said, “For organic certification, farmers are required to have a buffer zone around their perimeter fields. Crops harvested from this buffer zone are not eligible for certification due to potential drift from herbicide and fungicide drift. Buffer zones are useless against pollen drift. Organic, biodynamic, and conventional farmers who grow identity-preserved soybeans, wheat and open-pollinated corn often save seed for replanting the next year. It is illogical that these farmers are liable for cross-pollination contamination.”

Jill Davies, Director of plaintiff Sustainable Living Systems in Victor, Montana, said, “The building blocks of life are sacred and should be in the public domain. If scientists want to study and manipulate them for some supposed common good, fine. Then we must remove the profit motive. The private profit motive corrupts pure science and increasingly precludes democratic participation.”

David Murphy, founder and Executive Director of plaintiff Food Democracy Now! said, “None of Monsanto’s original promises regarding genetically modified seeds have come true after 15 years of wide adoption by commodity farmers. Rather than increased yields or less chemical usage, farmers are facing more crop diseases, an onslaught of herbicide-resistant superweeds, and increased costs from additional herbicide application. Even more appalling is the fact that Monsanto’s patented genes can blow onto another farmer’s fields and that farmer not only loses significant revenue in the market but is frequently exposed to legal action against them by Monsanto’s team of belligerent lawyers. Crop biotechnology has been a miserable failure economically and biologically and now threatens to undermine the basic freedoms that farmers and consumers have enjoyed in our constitutional democracy.”

Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for plaintiff The Cornucopia Institute said, “We need the court system to offset this power and protect individual farmers from corporate tyranny. Farmers have saved seeds since the beginning of agriculture by our species. It is outrageous that one corporate entity, through the trespass of what they refer to as their ‘technology,’ can intimidate and run roughshod over family farmers in this country. It should be the responsibility of Monsanto, and farmers licensing their technology, to ensure that genetically engineered DNA does not trespass onto neighboring farmland. It is outrageous, that through no fault of their own, farmers are being intimidated into not saving seed for fear that they will be doggedly pursued through the court system and potentially bankrupted.”

ABOUT PUBPAT

The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) is a not-for-profit legal services organization affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
PUBPAT protects freedom in the patent system by representing the public interest against undeserved patents and unsound patent policy. More information about PUBPAT is available from www.pubpat.org.

CONTACT

Daniel B. Ravicher
Executive Director
PUBLIC PATENT FOUNDATION
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
+1-212-545-5337
press@pubpat.org

March 30th, 2011

Source: Cornucopia Institute

More information on GMOs:

GM food alters your DNA, changes your brain waves, destroys your immune system, your organs and makes you infertile.

- Next Stop Monsanto Zone: Agribusiness Fascism You Can Take A Bath In!

- MSNBC Poll: 96% Want GMOs Labeled

- Hidden Dangers: Genetically Engineered Foods

USDA National Organics Program: Testing for GMOs NOT Required!!!

- GMO Nightmare: There Is No Escape From GM Foods

- GMOs: No Seeds, No Independent Research!

- Scientists Warn Of Dangerous New Pathogen From Roundup Ready Treated Monsanto GM Crops Causing Infertility And Spontaneous Abortions

- USDA Deregulates GMO Corn Engineered to Produce Fuel, Not Food, Unleashing Another Mass Contamination of Crops

- Despite a Court Ban USDA Allows Commercial Planting of Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Sugar Beets

- US: Organic Consumers Association Funded by Big Pharma and Rockefeller! Food Freedom Betrayal!

- Change: USDA Recommends ‘Coexistence’ with Monsanto

- Monsanto’s Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health

- Max Keiser: Monsanto And The Seeds Of Evil

- WikiLeaks Cables: US Targets EU Over GM Crops

- Australia: Monsanto GM Strain Blows Organic Status Away

- US Conspired to Retaliate Against European Nations If They Resisted GMOs: Wikileaks Cable Reveals

- USDA GMO Policy

- US House of Representatives Passes Unconstitutional S.510/HR 2751, The Food Safety Modernization Act (TREASON!!!)

- The GMO Orange Scandal

- And Now: GMO Oranges As Solution To Insect-Borne Bacterial Disease

- Judge Orders Destruction Of Monsanto GMO sugarbeets

- Monsanto, Syngenta, BASF And Others Working On GM Wheat

- Scientists working to create genetically modified chocolate – to make you healthy (Sure!)

- MIT Scientists Develop GMO Plant That Produces Pharmaceutical Drugs

- USDA Plans To Allow GM Sugar Beet Planting During Lawsuit

- 10 Freakiest Things About Frankenfish

- GM Flax Contamination Detected in 35 Countries

- Study: GM Corn ‘Has Polluted Rivers Across The United States’

- FDA Refuses to Require Labeling of GM Salmon

- GM Salmon Nears US Approval

- RED ALERT: Dr. Rima E. Laibow On The Food Safety Bill (S 510): This Bill Eliminates All Local Farming, Organic Farmers and Garden Farmers

- US: GM Salmon May Go On Sale

- GMO Sugar Beets – Monsanto Wins Again

- US: Rice Farmer Awarded $500,000 In GM Rice Trial

- Scientist Leading Taxpayer-Funded GM Crop Test Defends Links To US Biotech Giant Monsanto

- US Supreme Court Lifts Ban On Monsanto’s GM Alfalfa

- UK Academics Quit Rigged FSA Frankenfood Propaganda

- Study: Monsanto’s Roundup Kills Human Cells (Flashback)

- GMO Alert: US Attempting Global Censorship of GMO Food Labeling

- California Files Legal Brief Opposing Monsanto in US Supreme Court

- Russian Scientists Prove Genetically Modified Foods are Harmful, Suggest Ban on GM Foods

- Bayer AG admits GMO contamination out of control

- Monsanto: GM-Corn Harvest of 82,000 Hectares in South Africa Fails (!)

- Multiple Ways Monsanto is Putting Normal Seeds Out of Reach

- Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Seed Patents May Trump Antitrust Claims

- Former Managing Director of Monsanto India: Monsanto ‘Faked’ Data for Approvals

- Monsanto GM Corn Causing Organ Failure In Rats: Study (Everything You Need To Know)

- Scientist: Monsanto’s herbicide could cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in foetuses

- Hawaii: GMO taro ban proposal goes to full council

- Monsanto to Charge as Much as 42 % More for New Seeds!

- US Association of Physicians calls for Moratorium on GMO Foods

- Monsanto sues Germany over GM corn ban

- Germany bans Monsanto’s GM maize

- Greenpeace: No need for condoms – GE corn can do the job

- Austrian Government Study Confirms Genetically Modified (GM) Crops Threaten Human Fertility and Health Safety

- BIODIVERSITY: Privatisation Making Seeds Themselves Infertile

- At stake is no less than control of the world’s food supply.

- Exposed: the great GM crops myth:

“Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.”

Highly recommended videos:

- Life running out of control – Genetically Modified Organisms (!)

- The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see. (!)

Obama and Monsanto:

- Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Lobbyist of CropLife America Whose Members Include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical

- Obama Gives ‘Pesticide Lobbyist’ Post as Chief Agricultural Negotiator

- Monsanto lobbyists to be placed in charge of food safety by Obama

- Obama appoints Monsanto shill Tom Vilsack to USDA chief

On CODEX and the agenda of the elite:

- Food Safety Bill Invokes Codex Harmonization And Grants FDA Authority To Police Food Safety Of Foreign Nations

- Dr. Rima E. Laibow: The Globalist Depopulation Agenda

- Dr. Rima E. Laibow on Codex Alimentarius and Food Nazification (!)

- Dr. Rima E. Laibow on the Contamination of the Food Supply & Deadly Antibiotics

- Codex Alimentarius: Population Control Under the Guise of Consumer Protection

- One Nation Under Siege – Full Theatrical Release

- Nutricide – Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs

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2 Responses to “Farmers and Seed Producers Launch Preemptive Strike against Monsanto”

  1. Julia Russell Says:

    GM food alters your DNA, changes your brain waves, destroys your immune system, your organs and makes you infertile.
    Are government trying to kill us, the Americans????

  2. Julia Russell Says:

    GM food alters your DNA, changes your brain waves, destroys your immune system, your organs and makes you infertile.
    Are government trying to kill us, the Americans????
    Please reconsider and go back to old ways of natural methods in old days.
    Thanks!

    Julia Russell

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