Court sets date for hearing of lawsuit against Monsanto

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On Nov. 21, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., announced that it would hear the Appeal of Dismissal in Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto at 10am on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. The landmark organic community lawsuit was originally filed in Federal District Court, Southern District of New York, in March 2011.

OSGATA et al v. Monsanto challenges the validity of Monsanto's transgenic seed patents and seeks preemptive court protection for farmers when Monsanto seed trespasses onto their farms and contaminates their crops. Should contamination occur, innocent farmers would be placed in legal jeopardy and could be held liable by Monsanto for patent infringement because of the farmers' "possession" of Monsanto technology without having paid royalty on that "possession."

Plaintiffs are being represented in the case by lawyers from the Public Patent Foundation, who are providing their legal services to the farmers pro bono. Plaintiff lawyer Dan Ravicher asked Monsanto for a binding legal covenant guaranteeing family farmers that they would not be pursued for patent infringement should they become contaminated by Monsanto seed. Monsanto refused to provide this assurance to the farmers.

The farmers' Appeal brief, filed last summer, cites legal and factual errors by Federal District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald which in total caused her to erroneously conclude that the farmers lacked standing under the Declaratory Judgment Act to seek court protection.

In addition, two powerful Amicii briefs were filed in support of the farmers' position - one by a group of 11 law professors and another by a group of 14 non-profit agricultural and consumer organizations. These briefs will be studied by the three judge Appellate panel during their deliberations.

"American family farmers have gone to court seeking justice and protection from Monsanto. We are not seeking one penny from Monsanto," said Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen, President of lead Plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.

"We satisfy the requirements of the Declaratory Judgment Act. We want our day in court so that our families can achieve protection from this perverse injustice. We are prepared to prove at trial that the U.S. Patent Office improperly granted Monsanto patents on their genetically engineered seed and that those patents are invalid," said Gerritsen.

OSGATA has re-established its Farmer Travel Fund in order to raise funds to enable family farmers to travel to the Oral Argument in January. The Farmer Travel Fund is in immediate need of contributions to support this convergence of farmers from across the United States in solidarity for the OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto lawsuit effort.

Plaintiffs believe it is critical that the courtroom for the Oral Argument of this major lawsuit be filled with concerned Plaintiff-farmers in order to visibly demonstrate that the case is not just an academic dispute of patent law. Rather it is a monumental issue affecting the rights of American family farmers, with implications of global significance.

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Michael j. Trout, Foundups corp    
Japan  |  November, 28, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Monsanto is possibly the most insidious corporation since nazi Germany. I'm so glad folks are standing up to them.

Heart of Illinois  |  November, 29, 2012 at 05:05 PM

I'm not saying they aren't about profit but they are about progress and follow through. Doing things status quo is not going to feed the world in 20 years. Organic crops do not provide any more nutritional value than the GMO crops I raise. Compared to my grandfather though I have reduced the pesticide load to 25% or less than what he did in his time and produce twice as much or more. A lot of this is thanks to Monsanto and their progress in the Bio-tech arena just think a little bit before you judge.

Heart of Illinois  |  November, 29, 2012 at 05:05 PM

I'm not saying they aren't about profit but they are about progress and follow through. Doing things status quo is not going to feed the world in 20 years. Organic crops do not provide any more nutritional value than the GMO crops I raise. Compared to my grandfather though I have reduced the pesticide load to 25% or less than what he did in his time and produce twice as much or more. A lot of this is thanks to Monsanto and their progress in the Bio-tech arena just think a little bit before you judge.

Indiana  |  November, 29, 2012 at 05:07 PM

I didn't realize Nazi Germany was a coroporation. I have been working as a consultant for them for the past 5 years and found them to be great people. In regards to this lawsuit and this article, I find them both laughable and full of holes. Funny how Monsanto always gets a black eye, but their biggest competitor has been pulling some of the most unethical business practices for years, and nobody seems to care or notice

Hatfield, PA  |  November, 29, 2012 at 09:36 AM

I agree Mike Trout! Time for change and only WE as a country can do it!

Indiana  |  November, 29, 2012 at 05:10 PM

WE as a country can do it! I can hear you smacking your gum and twirling your hair from here Andrea...and it is annoying.

S.E. Asia  |  November, 29, 2012 at 06:35 PM

While GMO;s have delivered substantial benefits on yield--for Monsanto the best yield results have been in their "lobbying" (read vote buying) in the U.S Congress. Can you believe that if Monsanto's GMO traits infect the organic farmers seeds/ produce--then they (the organic farmer) can be sucessfully sued by Monsanto? The farmers are not asking for one cent. They just want protection from this perverse violence on the law. Rest assured they will not get it ! Unfortunately. A jury will sympathize. The higher courts (as an extension of Congress) will ensure special interest groups agendas will prevail over the citizens will. Food Supply Control--anyone?

Missouri  |  November, 29, 2012 at 07:53 PM

This was a frivolous lawsuit from the get go by the organic growers. There never was nor ever will be the type situation that is the premise for their lawsuit. This is really about the organic movement in general, which has morphed from a niche market serving those "trendies" looking for eternal life here on earth to a full blown socio-political movement manipulated and controlled by well-to-do food elitists who are engaged in a well coordinated attack aimed at disrupting modern American agriculture. It is a also a cynical form of economic bigotry in that these snooty elitists would gladly impose their expensive will on a world that cannot be nourished or sustained if their high priced and non sustainable system (organic) is forced on the rest of us.......a product that is proven to be no more safe or nutritious than conventional produced crops, including GMO's.

Illinois  |  November, 29, 2012 at 09:09 PM

If, as you say, there never has been, nor will there ever be, a type of situation which is the premise for this lawsuit, why then does Monsanto not just agree to never sue the organic grower? Seems like a pretty simple answer to me. Makes a sane person wonder what truth Monsanto knows that they don't want you to know.

Las Vegas  |  November, 29, 2012 at 09:21 PM

Mike have you actually researched and studied GMOs, they are the most harmful thing to be released into our food supply in the past 20 years. They provide little to no value, you can't even produce oil from GMO corn. GMOs cause cancer and infertility. I believe in progress as much as anyone but GMOs at their present state are far from safe and should be banned all together until more research is done or in fact done in the first place.

Maryland  |  November, 29, 2012 at 10:02 PM

So true. Other than that I would like to urge everyone to steer clear of GMOs as a rule. Also, keep in mind that Monsanto was behind the release of Aspartame ( Methanol) to the general public. Since its release in diet sodas and now many foods the incidencesiof auto-immune diseses have climbed from a rich man's disease to a common thing in the middle class and the even less affluent public. Aspartame is not the only Methanol to be concerned aboutbecause Methanol also forms in Canned friuts and veggies. If in doubt look up "When Science Sleeps" in your search engine. Please do your own research! Gmos are even more dangerous than Aspartame!

Wisconsin  |  November, 30, 2012 at 04:10 PM

Wow, what a contrast in views. The GMO industry, like any new technology has it's reservations. The contrast in views today, is not unlike the dispute between Tesla and Edison regarding AC vs. DC systems. Electricity is something you can live without, but few choose to do so. I think the real issue is seed production. If you are a conventional seed grower and pollen from GMO crops migrates into your field after which you sell that seed, and it is found to contain GMO traits, should you be guilty of patent infringement? I was there when David Padwa announced his intention to focus on improving seed via biotechnology methods. I was there when the first field trials employing modified crops were conducted. I was there when Monsanto representatives claimed that pollen contamination to conventional seed would not occur. We aren't always correct in our beliefs. I am told we have data which contradicts the last assumption. Some of us were a little skeptical when that claim was made. Indeed, conventional seed growers need to be indemnified when unintentional pollen contamination occurs. There is concern though, that an unscrupulous seed grower might do so intentionally. Here is where patent protection is intended. So, as you can see, it is challenging. This really isn't about whether people are nice or not. It is about protecting a huge financial commitment. At the same time, it is about protecting the small conventional seed grower. To throw it out of court might be wrong, but to negate our patent process would also be an error. I hope the courts will consider this very ethically and to the best interest of both parties. Food quality issues must be addressed by the FDA and EPA.

CT  |  November, 30, 2012 at 07:24 PM

Just reading most of these comments makes me realize that this issue is still not being addressed correctly in this country. Before you make a comment - EDUCATE YOURSELF! Genetically Engineered is NOT the same as Genetically Modified. Look in the mirror - you are genetically modified - a natural cross (mating) of two genetically different DNA strands (your mom and dad). GE is the crossing of two genetically different DNA strands from completely different species (ex:plant and pesticide) and would never happen in nature.

Wisconsin  |  December, 01, 2012 at 08:10 AM

Your assertion that Genetically engineered and Genetically modified are different is, in fact incorrect. That science was first introduced to the public as "genetic engineering". There were some who felt that "biotechnology" was a more socially acceptable term, so then it became popular. When the U.S. government finally got involved, it adopted the term "genetically modified organism" or GMO. It amazes me to here people talk about what will or will not occur in nature. Ones high school diploma will not happen in nature. People have always argued against new science, case in point Galileo. There is a respectful middle ground where learning and advancement can occur.

December, 13, 2012 at 07:05 PM

How are your honey bees doing?

Lucy ONeal    
Indiana  |  December, 13, 2012 at 07:07 PM

How are your honey bees doing taking home pollen from registered insecticides like GMO corn?

South Florida  |  December, 21, 2012 at 08:11 AM

That is the most ridiculous thing to say that gmo is as nutritious organic grown food. How could food possible be good if it is killing all of our bees. If gmo takes over the Universe there will be no food at all. If GMO is so great then tell me why there are so many diseases coming about. Celiac is a good example. Something changed. Just like the pesticides built right into the gene of the ear of corn. How can that possibly be good. I do not buy any processed food and I will not buy anything gmo. So I guess the brave people who are not afraid to label their food.....are not trying to hide anything. Well it is perfect that the food and drug are tied together. The food will poison the unknowing person the medicine for the issue will eventually kill them. Just perfect! What has our society come to. I will play no part of it. Politics are involved big time. The whole thing makes me quite ill.

December, 21, 2012 at 08:14 AM

My high school diplomia does not make pesticides nor does it grow in spite of being sprayed with round up then end up served to living beings in place of food.

ny  |  December, 21, 2012 at 08:40 AM

Regardless of how you feel about Monsanto as a corporation or the people who work there, the issue here is that farmers can have their crops contaminated through no fault of their own and then be sued for patent infringement by the makers of these GMO's. These farmers are simply asking for protection from prosecution when they have done nothing wrong.

Chris Pomeroy    
Austin  |  December, 21, 2012 at 09:49 AM

I hope that they nail them to the wall for doing this crap. Monsanto is a thief!

Kansas  |  December, 27, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Can't make oil from GMO corn? That has to be the most idiotic statement I have heard in all my years in Agriculture. Where do you think all the corn oil comes from? GMOs cause cancer and infertility? Really? That has to be the biggest lie in these posts. Show me your data. Show me your research. Show me your proven links to these profound untruths. And, don't bring up the study of that biased French weasel who has been uncovered as a paid fraud. It really amazes me that all you people support starvation in third world countries with your ignorance, blind hatred and non stop bashing of American Agriculture and anything related to it.

Kansas  |  December, 27, 2012 at 12:20 PM

I the last decade there was a study done by the Mid Atlantic Apiculture Extension to find out what was causing the bee hive die off. They suspected parasites, bt pollen, or insecticide use. There was no evidence found to connect bacillius thuringiensis and the colony colapses. They are still trying to figure out what is causing it.

Waterloo, IA  |  December, 27, 2012 at 03:07 PM

Toots, you have been mislead that organically grown food is more nutritious than regular foods. The only ones that promote this are the organic food growers and sellers. No credible scientist would back up your claims. Do not think that just because something is organic that is automatically healthy or healthier! Insect damaged grains are much more suceptable to Mycotoxin development. Bees aren't being killed by GMO's either. Each GMO product has very specific insects the trait target, saving all beneficial insects and non target insects. This allows grower to quit using broad application insecticide sprays that kill everything. Great example: An organic grower can use Dipel insecticide on their sweetcorn, a naturally occurring Bt. If a seed company has the corn plant modified to manufacture this same Bt, organic people go nuts! Yet the organic grower will put on 8-10 times the amount of NATURALLY occuring pesticide. Stupid! Please become educated on modern agriculture and don't push your flaued ideas on the rest of us. This isn't Politics this is survival. This ignorance is making me quite ill.

IL  |  December, 27, 2012 at 03:28 PM

Thanks Bob ! Truth well spoken ! Kinda like HSUS saying their saving pets, While fighting to put an end to the American livestock industries.

Get Real    
Denver  |  December, 27, 2012 at 03:35 PM

Heather, what organic store do you work at? Wow, your comment that they provide little to no value is about as idiotic as your first comment. With the harshest weather we've seen in the last two years for the corn belt, we've big crops because of the miricle of science. You spout out non truths like they are gospel, yet have no real science based facts. I bet you can find more cancer causing agents in a bag of organically grown grain than you can in a bag of genetically enhanced grain. Please Heather do not submit anything to these comments unless you have something else than what you read on the back of your Organic labels. They are over priced with benefits over promised. Infertility in our society is mainly due to parents waiting until later in their lives to start families, and nothing more. Get an eduation please!


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