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Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:01 PM

Monsanto sued small famers to protect seed patents, report says

Source: Guardian

Monsanto sued small famers to protect seed patents, report says

Agricultural giant has won more than $23m from its targets, but one case is being heard at Supreme Court this month

Paul Harris in New York
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 12 February 2013 15.11 EST

The agricultural giant Monsanto has sued hundreds of small farmers in the United States in recent years in attempts to protect its patent rights on genetically engineered seeds that it produces and sells, a new report said on Tuesday.

The study, produced jointly by the Center for Food Safety and the Save Our Seeds campaigning groups, has outlined what it says is a concerted effort by the multinational to dominate the seeds industry in the US and prevent farmers from replanting crops they have produced from Monsanto seeds.

In its report, called Seed Giants vs US Farmers, the CFS said it had tracked numerous law suits that Monsanto had brought against farmers and found some 142 patent infringement suits against 410 farmers and 56 small businesses in more than 27 states. In total the firm has won more than $23m from its targets, the report said.

However, one of those suits, against Indiana soybean farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, is a potentially landmark patent case that could have wide implications for genetic engineering and who controls patents on living organisms. The CFS and SOS are both supporting Bowman in the case, which will be heard in the Supreme Court later this month.


Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/12/monsanto-sues-farmers-seed-patents

32 replies, 4303 views

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Reply Monsanto sued small famers to protect seed patents, report says (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 OP
MynameisBlarney Feb 2013 #1
Kelvin Mace Feb 2013 #11
Cha Feb 2013 #17
WilliamPitt Feb 2013 #2
broadcaster75201 Feb 2013 #3
Earth_First Feb 2013 #4
alfredo Feb 2013 #23
Berlum Feb 2013 #5
riderinthestorm Feb 2013 #12
riverbendviewgal Feb 2013 #16
Cha Feb 2013 #19
riderinthestorm Feb 2013 #20
Cha Feb 2013 #18
Jack Rabbit Feb 2013 #22
alfredo Feb 2013 #24
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #6
geardaddy Feb 2013 #7
timdog44 Feb 2013 #8
geardaddy Feb 2013 #9
november3rd Feb 2013 #10
ReRe Feb 2013 #14
Faryn Balyncd Feb 2013 #13
ReRe Feb 2013 #15
farminator3000 Feb 2013 #21
fasttense Feb 2013 #27
farminator3000 Feb 2013 #28
fasttense Feb 2013 #30
farminator3000 Feb 2013 #31
fasttense Feb 2013 #32
Le Taz Hot Feb 2013 #25
bvar22 Feb 2013 #29
limpyhobbler Feb 2013 #26

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:14 PM

1. Monsanto

"We don't have to be this evil, but seriously, fuck you."

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Response to MynameisBlarney (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 05:10 PM

11. A friend who used to work for Ciba-Geigy

told me years ago, "Even we call them "Monsatan."

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:06 PM

17. That's apt.. 'cause in

my opinion they are.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:20 PM

2. "famers"

needs to be "farmers."

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:21 PM

3. We will not be civilized until food is free for everyone. N/T

nt

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:26 PM

4. They'd send their patent lawyers out with crop engineers walk across the street from a farm with GM

crops and sue the deeds right out from underneath generations old family farms.

THIS is the America my grandfather once defended, respected and admired?!

Hardly.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 08:16 PM

23. Even if seeds fall from a farm truck and lands in the ditch

in your yard, Monsanto will sue you for growing their seed without their permission.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:28 PM

5. Republican Family 'Values' - MonsantoStyle

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Response to Berlum (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 05:12 PM

12. Exactly. Small farmers should sue Monsanto for contaminating THEIR fields.

Monsanto is simply so much bigger than the average family farmer that they take the initiative to sue first when it really is the other way around. The small farmer whose worked hard to try to keep his field from being contaminated by Monsanto should be doing the suing.



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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 05:58 PM

16. why have they not?

That would make sense. A big class suit

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:18 PM

19. See post #18, riverbendviewgal..

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:24 PM

20. Its just starting to happen but small farmers are just that, small.

without a great deal of extra cash even to join a class action suit. Someone with deep pockets needed to care enough to take on Monsanto.

Its starting to happen but its been many painful years in between.

I will say that a lot of farmers also (mistakenly) believed that it was self-evident that Monsanto was the contaminator. I think they relied too much upon what should have appeared to be common sense - that an organic farmer for example, would never want Monsanto to be its seed producer. It took a few (lost) cases that had stretched out for a few years before the industry began to notice what was happening.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:17 PM

18. It's happened..

Million Farmers Sue Monsanto for $7.7 Billion

Launching a lawsuit against the very company that is responsible for a farmer suicide every 30 minutes, 5 million farmers are now suing Monsanto for as much as 6.2 billion euros (around 7.7 billion US dollars). The reason? As with many other cases, such as the ones that led certain farming regions to be known as the ‘suicide belt’, Monsanto has been reportedly taxing the farmers to financial shambles with ridiculous royalty charges. The farmers state that Monsanto has been unfairly gathering exorbitant profits each year on a global scale from “renewal” seed harvests, which are crops planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest.

ttp://www.infowars.com/5-million-farmers-sue-monsanto-for-7-7-billion/

I remember on DU years ago when this Monsanto crap first came out..there were people defending them while we were calling them Frankenfoods.

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Response to Berlum (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:19 PM

22. I would lijke to know how much Monsanto paid the judge to rule . . .

. . . that the wind blowing their seed on to a farmer's land implied a contract when the farmer never bought a thing from them or even contacted them.

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Response to Berlum (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 08:20 PM

24. Monsanto, keep your pollen off my crops, and your lawyers

off my property.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:32 PM

6. If ever there is a

demon seed, they will be responsible for it.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:35 PM

7. Monsatan

And here's a one of their former employees.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:37 PM

8. Monsanto is another

case of the revolving door in Washington. The interaction of ex Monsanto employees and government officials is just despicable. First of all no one should be able to put a patent on a living organism. And secondly they should not be adding or changing genetic material willy nilly without extensive testing as to the harm to you and I and all other living organisms. They are truly the Evil Empire.

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Response to timdog44 (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:44 PM

9. + a million n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:50 PM

10. It's the System

It can't hide behind Obama anymore.

The military, industrial, congressional, judicial, media, energy and gun complex is CORRUPT.

We'd be better off without them.

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Response to november3rd (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 05:42 PM

14. Hear, Hear!

...and let's don't forget the evil fucking legislation-writing lobbyists!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 05:12 PM

13. If the framers were alive today, they would ABOLISH the patent system which has been ABUSED beyond..


....recognition.

When they authorized Congress to grant limited patents in Article I, Section 8:

"The Congress shall have power...To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."


the framers had no idea Sonny Bono and corporatists would abuse this clause to the extent that science, useful arts, and the general welfare would be IMPEDED by patent law, rather than promoted.

We would be far better off, and the marketplace would be more just, if would immmediately and totally ABOLISH this abused patent system.








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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 05:52 PM

15. K&R

Thanks for posting this story from the Guardian. Let's wait and see if it makes the news over here. (It won't.) I'm against all GMOs. Period. There should be no patents on something as basic in our commons as SEED! Monsanto is a diabolical multinational corporation. I will be watching alternative media for the news on the SC's decision. By the end of February? That's what it says. That's like the next couple weeks.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:46 PM

21. more about Bowman + pdf of the suit

from the OP article- (they could have stopped right at the bold part...)
Monsanto, which has won its case against Bowman in lower courts, vociferously disagrees. It argues that it needs its patents in order to protect its business interests and provide a motivation for spending millions of dollars on research and development of hardier, disease-resistant seeds that can boost food yields.

On a website set up to put forward its point of view on the Bowman case, the company argues that if the supreme court rules against it, vast swathes of research and patent-reliant industries will be under threat. Strong patent protection that covers genetic innovations, and is passed on in subsequent generations of crops, is vital to preserving the motivation for developing new agricultural products, the firm insists.

"If Bowman prevails, however, this field of research could be altered severely, as would many others in medicine, biofuels, and environmental science, as easily replicable technologies would no longer enjoy any meaningful protection under the patent laws," the firm said in a statement.


what a load of crap all around. genetic innovations are easily replicable? wtf?
edit #1: who the F needs motivation to spend millions? huh?

***

link from the OP- (check the picture- my hoodie is green, and i'm 30+ years younger, but same tractors!)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/farmers-use-of-genetically-modified-soybeans-grows-into-supreme-court-case/2013/02/09/8729f05a-717c-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story_2.html
Monsanto, alarmed at the possibilities of what the Supreme Court might do, has circled the wagons.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization warns that advancements in agricultural, medical and environmental research “depend critically on a strong, stable and nationally uniform system of patent rights and protections.”

Universities, economists, intellectual property experts and seed companies have weighed in on Monsanto’s behalf.

Bowman originally represented himself, with the help of a local attorney, in the legal proceedings. But now Seattle lawyer Mark P. Walters and his intellectual property law firm are working pro bono on Bowman’s behalf.

Walters calls Monsanto’s dire claims “really such an exaggeration.” Monsanto can protect itself through contracts, for instance, requiring grain elevators to impose restrictions against planting commodity seed. The company could even ensure that its Roundup resistance does not pass on to the next generation of soybeans, ensuring that farmers would have to buy, rather than save, seed.

Monsanto rejects those alternatives as unworkable.

***

here's the Bowman suit- kinda long! looks pretty kick-ass, though, i'd say.

http://www.patentlyo.com/files/11-796-ts.pdf

pg. 17
Over 150 years ago, in McQuewan, this Court drew a
critical distinction between purchasers of “the exclusive
privilege of making or vending” a patented product and
purchasers of the product itself “for the purpose of using
it in the ordinary pursuits of life . . . .” 55 U.S. at 549.
McQuewan explained that when a patented article “passes
to the hands of the purchaser, it is no longer within the
limits of the monopoly. It passes outside of it, and
is no longer under the protection of the act of Congress.”

Id.

CONCLUSION
The Federal Circuit’s decision provides Monsanto with
an unprecedented level of protection. It permits Monsanto
to sue farmers for patent infringement when they plant
seeds that have been purchased on the open market in
authorized and unrestricted sales. This decision confl icts
with more than 150 years of law from this Court holding
that patent rights terminate after an authorized sale.
It
also expands those rights by providing an exception to
patent exhaustion for self-replicating technologies.
Absent congressional action, self-replicating
technologies deserve no special consideration under the
exhaustion doctrine.
The fact that products embodying
these inventions will self-replicate by normal use should
be of no consequence to an accused infringer’s exhaustion
defense. If Monsanto wants to restrict farmers’ use of
its self-replicating inventions, then it must do so under
contract law.
Under this Court’s cases, Monsanto’s patent
rights terminated upon the authorized sale of seeds
embodying the invention to Bowman, and it could no longer
restrict his use of those seeds through patent law.
The judgment of the Federal Circuit should be
reversed.
Respectfully submitted,

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Response to farminator3000 (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:38 AM

27. Why can't Monsatan make it's seeds non-self replicating?

I mean hybrids have been used for centuries and they are NOT self replicating. Many an offspring of a hybrid is sterile or of poor quality. If the monster corporation is such a genetic genius, why can't Monsatan make a seed that is NOT self replicating? That would prevent the monster seed from spreading into unwanted areas. I buy sunflower seeds without pollen so it can be put on the table without sprinkling pollen over everywhere. It rarely has seeds and the few seeds it does have, grow back at an inferior quality.

Seems to me Monsatan has a faulty product and is trying to cover up the fault with litigation.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #27)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:13 PM

28. their 'terminator' tech (see my screen name) is BANNED, possibly...but, a big mess as usual

natural hybrids are NEVER sterile, nature would never do something as insane as that.
big Ms latest is buying up naturally created hybrids, too, to cover their butts if GMOs are banned like they should be:
Tip of the iceberg
A locally invented lettuce variety is now owned by Monsanto
http://www.newtimesslo.com/news/8001/tip-of-theiceberg/

***

http://www.globalresearch.ca/genetically-engineered-terminator-seeds-death-and-destruction-of-agriculture/5319797
Previously, farmers just replanted their own seeds and exchanged them among themselves. As with the forced enclosure of common land in England hundreds of years ago, ordinary farmers today are being denied access to their heritage too: the common exchanging, saving, evolving and breeding of seeds. By using various legal and political instruments, through seed monopolies and seed patenting, big agribusiness has taken over the cotton seed market, especially in India, where over 90 to 95 percent of all cotton is now genetically modified and controlled by big corporations.

It is frequently argued that the high debt incurred by Indian farmers and resultant farmer suicides (over 250,000 since 1997) have largely resulted from the need to purchase costly pesticides and expensive seeds each year because they contain a ‘terminator’ gene. Environmentalist Vandana Shiva has taken a good deal of flak from some quarters for implying that seeds with ‘non-renewable’ genetic traits are responsible for the mass farmer suicides in India. Her most strident critics say that this is a much-propagated myth or outright lie, given the global ban on the commercial use of ‘terminator’ seeds. So, who are we to believe?

Tiruvadi Jagadisan worked with Monsanto for nearly two decades, including eight years as the managing director of India operations. The former Monsanto boss said government regulatory agencies with which the company used to deal with in the 1980s simply depended on data supplied by the company while giving approvals to herbicides.

As reported in India Today in 2009, he is on record as saying that India’s Central Insecticide Board simply accepted foreign data supplied by Monsanto and did not even have a test tube to validate the data and, at times, the data itself was faked. Jagadisan stated that Monsanto was getting into the seed business and that he had information that a ‘terminator gene’ was to be incorporated in the seeds being supplied by the firm.

It begs the question, who can we trust? Monsanto, a company with a more than dubious history of safety standards and scruples, and state regulatory bodies in India, a country where corruption throughout officialdom runs deep and is well documented, or people like Vandana Shiva and farmers on the ground who suspect terminator technology is already a reality?
Previously, farmers just replanted their own seeds and exchanged them among themselves. As with the forced enclosure of common land in England hundreds of years ago, ordinary farmers today are being denied access to their heritage too: the common exchanging, saving, evolving and breeding of seeds. By using various legal and political instruments, through seed monopolies and seed patenting, big agribusiness has taken over the cotton seed market, especially in India, where over 90 to 95 percent of all cotton is now genetically modified and controlled by big corporations.

It is frequently argued that the high debt incurred by Indian farmers and resultant farmer suicides (over 250,000 since 1997) have largely resulted from the need to purchase costly pesticides and expensive seeds each year because they contain a ‘terminator’ gene. Environmentalist Vandana Shiva has taken a good deal of flak from some quarters for implying that seeds with ‘non-renewable’ genetic traits are responsible for the mass farmer suicides in India. Her most strident critics say that this is a much-propagated myth or outright lie, given the global ban on the commercial use of ‘terminator’ seeds. So, who are we to believe?

Tiruvadi Jagadisan worked with Monsanto for nearly two decades, including eight years as the managing director of India operations. The former Monsanto boss said government regulatory agencies with which the company used to deal with in the 1980s simply depended on data supplied by the company while giving approvals to herbicides.

As reported in India Today in 2009, he is on record as saying that India’s Central Insecticide Board simply accepted foreign data supplied by Monsanto and did not even have a test tube to validate the data and, at times, the data itself was faked. Jagadisan stated that Monsanto was getting into the seed business and that he had information that a ‘terminator gene’ was to be incorporated in the seeds being supplied by the firm.

It begs the question, who can we trust? Monsanto, a company with a more than dubious history of safety standards and scruples, and state regulatory bodies in India, a country where corruption throughout officialdom runs deep and is well documented, or people like Vandana Shiva and farmers on the ground who suspect terminator technology is already a reality?

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Response to farminator3000 (Reply #28)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:51 PM

30. Yet many a hybrid seed (seeds from hybrid plants grown from hybrid seeds)

I've planted got me either nothing (very low germination rate) or got me really funky, awful plants.

The pollen less sunflower that reseeded was deformed and ugly. The green pepper seeds I saved from the store bought pepper was little and crappy tasting. The avocado seeds (store bought) I use to get a kick out of growing as a child don't seems to germinate anymore. The cucumber seeds I saved from a store bought cucumber never germinated. I could go on. True the terminator seed might be banned but there is nothing preventing Monsatan from producing a low germination rate seed or a poor quality self replicating seed.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #30)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:28 PM

31. they own all of those, too

big M doesn't bother with developing regular seeds, they just buy up the companies. they own like 63% of seed companies in the world, just enough to not get busted by anti-trust laws.

When Seminis was still its own company, it was bring out new varieties left and right. Monsanto bought them and then new varieites kind of dribbled out until about 2006 or 2007. After that, instead of new things, it was ‘we have dropped these major-selling varieties’. Great examples of this are Giant Valentine Tomato, Ichiban Eggplant, and Table Queen Acorn Squash.
http://horticulturetalk.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/who-owns-who-where-and-how-monsanto-has-their-sticky-little-fingers-in-the-home-garden-seed-industry-3/

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Response to farminator3000 (Reply #31)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:12 AM

32. Oh, so they are playing both sides of the fence so to speak.

They just want to monopolize, they don't care how.

Well, I make a point of planting at least one very unusual vegetable for each season. It sells well to the people who are looking for variety and few other vendors carry it. In addition most of the so called unusual vegetables are heirloom varieties and are open pollinators.

Here's to fighting the monsters in our own way.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 08:32 PM

25. Several of us have been trying for months

to bring up the subject of GMO foods and can't seem to get traction here on DU. This is so much more than what impact GMO has on our bodies and the environment. It has to do with Monsanto DOMINATING the food industry via control of the seed supply. They're wiping out small family farms and few people seem to be talking about it. This SC decision is vital to all of us.

Thank you for posting.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:57 PM

29. Monsanto dominates MORE than just the Food Industry.

They dominate our government.

Google: Tom Vilsack & Monsanto.
Tom Vilscak (AKA The King of Monsanto Corn, Iowa) was appointed by President Obama as the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA)

Google: Michael Taylor & Monsanto


Monsanto in the White House

Michael R. Taylor’s appointment by the Obama administration to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 7th sparked immediate debate and even outrage among many food and agriculture researchers, NGOs and activists. The Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto Corp. from 1998 until 2001, Taylor exemplifies the revolving door between the food industry and the government agencies that regulate it. He is reviled for shaping and implementing the government’s favorable agricultural biotechnology policies during the Clinton administration

http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/08/14/monsanto-s-man-in-the-obama-administration/

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 08:36 PM

26. A few words from Willie Nelson...

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