Monsanto Ordered to Federal Court Over Seed Patents

Organic farm

A lawsuit brought about by 83 food and agriculture groups will finally face off with Monsanto at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. early next year.

Representing 300,000 farmers—nearly 25 percent of all certified organic farms in the U.S.—the group of organizations includes the Cornucopia Institute, Fedco Seeds and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association among the 36 agricultural and food safety organizations, 33 farms and farmers, and 14 seed businesses. The groups filed the initial suit in order to challenge some of the gene patents held by the world’s largest seed and chemical company, Missouri-based Monsanto known for its genetically modified seeds and companion pesticide, Roundup. The suit was first filed in March 2011 and also seeks protection for the plaintiffs from lawsuits filed by Monsanto in the case that crop drift from the company’s patented GMO seeds contaminates the plaintiffs’ non-GMO crops.

Included in the plaintiffs’ complaint are two amicus briefs coming from 11 law professors and 14 consumer advocacy and food safety non-profit organizations.

The date of January 10, 2013 has been set for oral arguments after the initial complaint was dismissed by federal judge Naomi Buchwald earlier this year citing the claims as unsubstantiated with “no injury traceable to defendants.”

Monsanto has recently faced similar legal action including a class-action suit filed earlier this year by 5 million Brazilian farmers for close to $8 billion in retribution. The farmers claimed that Monsanto was collecting unfair royalties on renewal harvests.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: suzettesuzette

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.