Those wanting the downfall of Monsanto are trying to organize a sizeable protest of the company’s operations and culpability for possible contamination of organic crops. Oral arguments are being heard Jan. 10 in an appeal of a New York district court judge dismissing the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto case.
“The district court erred when it denied the organic seed plaintiffs the right to seek protection from Monsanto's patents,” said attorney Dan Ravicher of the not-for-profit Public Patent Foundation representing the seed group and farmers. “At the oral argument on January 10, we will explain to the court of appeals the district court's errors and why the case should be reinstated.”
Those on the side against Monsanto are wound tight and highly agitated as shown by the verbal assault against Monsanto and the court.
Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, used strong words to try and energize organic farmers to show up and protest in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 10. "Farmers have planted and saved seeds for more than 10,000 years without interruption until Monsanto's genetically engineered seeds entered the market in 1996. Almost immediately Monsanto began a campaign of harassment against America's farmers, trespassing on their land and launching frivolous patent infringement lawsuits. It's time to end Monsanto's campaign of fear against America's farmers and stand up for farmers' right to grow our food without legal threats and intimidation,” he said.
Though the case was dismissed in February 2012 by Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald, who ruled that the farmers lacked standing, lawyers from the Public Patent Foundation claim to have identified numerous reversible legal and factual errors committed by the judge, which they assert caused her to mistakenly dismiss the case. Amici briefs in support of the plaintiffs have been filed by 11 law professors and by a group of 14 non-profit agricultural and consumer organizations, according to Food Democracy Now!.
Monsanto’s version of the court dismissal is that the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGTA) was found to be engaged in a “transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists” because Monsanto had not taken any action, or even suggested to take any action against any of the plaintiffs, in the event the company’s traits happened to enter plaintiffs’ fields inadvertently through, for example, cross-pollination.
The protest organizers want as many people as possible to squeeze into the courtroom on Jan. 10 in Washington, and the goal is then to have a crowd of at least 200 show up at Laffayette Square.
In what sounds like a sound bite from a protest rally, Maine certified organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen, who is also president of the lead plaintiff, OSGTA, was quoted as saying. “Our farmers want nothing to do with Monsanto. We are not customers of Monsanto. We don't want their seed. We don't want their gene-spliced technology. We don't want their trespass onto our farms. We don't want their contamination of our crops. We don't want to have to defend ourselves from aggressive assertions of patent infringement because Monsanto refuses to keep their pollution on their side of the fence. We want justice.”