| Sept 5
Sept 5 A group of U.S. farmers, seed companies
and others challenging patents on genetically altered crops held
by biotech seed giant Monsanto Co. on Thursday appealed
their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The group, made up of 73 organic and conventional family
farmers, seed companies and public advocacy interests, sued
Monsanto in March 2011 seeking to prohibit the company from
suing them if their fields became contaminated with Monsanto's
patented genetic traits for corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, and
The biotech crops are widely used throughout the United
States, and Monsanto has sued more than 100 farmers for patent
infringement, winning judgments against farmers found to have
made use of its seed without paying required royalties.
Monsanto has said it will not sue farmers if they do not
intentionally use the technology without paying for it. In June,
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a
previous ruling that found organic growers had no reason to try
to block Monsanto from suing them as the company had pledged it
would not take them to court if biotech crops accidentally mixed
in with theirs.
Monsanto said in a statement issued Thursday that the
farmers were trying to create a controversy where none exists.
"The District Court ruled and Court of Appeals affirmed that
there was no controversy between the parties," the company said
in a statement. "There is neither a history of behavior nor a
reasonable likelihood that Monsanto will pursue patent
infringement against farmers who have no interest in using the
company's patented seed products."
But those pushing the court action said Monsanto's patents
were invalid, and its biotech crops damaging to the environment
and to farmers who suffer contamination.
"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," Dave
Murphy, founder of the advocacy group Food Democracy Now, a
plaintiff in the case, said in a statement.