73 Farmer Groups Vs. Monsanto, Seeking Supreme Court Ruling on Seed Patents

A coalition of 73 U.S. farmers, advocacy groups and seed companies have appealed a case to the Supreme Court against the biotech company Monsanto over seed patents and the company’s rights to sue farmers whose non-GMO fields become contaminated by Monsanto’s GMO seeds.

“The case seeks to challenge Monsanto’s aggressive claims on patents of genetically-engineered seeds and aims to bar the chemical and biotech company from suing anyone whose field is contaminated by such seeds,” reports RT. “Monsanto has in the past sued over 100 farmers for patent infringement and won cases against farmers who were found to have used seeds without paying the company royalties.”

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the coalition did not have a case to keep Monsanto from filing lawsuits if patented seeds wind up in non-GMO fields. The ruling stated that Monsanto has made “binding assurances that it will not ‘take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes,'” such as in the case of crop drift.

But the coalition wasn’t satisfied, and is asking the Supreme Court to review the case and “reinstate the right of the plaintiffs to seek full protection from Monsanto’s invalid transgenic seed patents,” according to Daniel Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) and lead counsel to the plaintiffs in the case (OSGATA et al v. Monsanto).

According to RT, “the plaintiffs’ filing cites evidence proving that the genetically-engineered seeds have negative economic and health effects, while the supposed benefits for food production and avoiding toxic pesticides are weak.”

Dave Murphy, a plaintiff in the case and founder of the advocacy group Food Democracy Now, said in a statement, “As the leading arbiters of justice in the U.S., it behooves the Supreme Court to hear this important case to protect America’s farmers from abusive patent infringement lawsuits and invalidate Monsanto’s flawed patents as their products have been shown to be damaging to human health and the environment and failed to live up to the marketing hype.”

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