Reversing roles, farmers sue Monsanto over GMO seedsYou can read the full story here.
Genetically modified seed giant Monsanto is notorious for suing farmers in defense of its patent claims. But now, a group of dozens of organic farmers and food activists have, with the help of the not-for-profit law center The Public Patent Foundation, sued Monsanto in a case that could forever alter the way genetically modified crops are grown in this country.
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GMO crops have another interesting quality -- you can "use" a patented gene without even knowing it. When you download and share music and movies on peer-to-peer networks or plagiarize blog posts or books, let's face it -- you know what you're doing. But if you're a farmer, GMO seeds can literally blow in to your fields on the breeze or just the pollen from GMO crops can blow in (or buzz in via bees) and contaminate your organic or "conventional" fields. And if that happens, Monsanto or Syngenta or Bayer CropLife maintain the right to sue you as if you had illegally bought their seed and knowingly planted it.
In an appropriately Orwellian twist, the companies even call such accidental contamination by their products "patent infringement." And, in the face of a government more than willing to allow companies to "defend" their "intellectual property" in this way, organic farmers and others have now stepped up and said, in short, "Hell no!"
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If the suit is successful, not only will it limit Monsanto's ability to sue farmers, the company will have far greater responsibility for how and where its biotech seeds are planted. The regulatory free ride will be over. While that won’t eliminate GMO crops, it will at least give organic farmers a hope of avoiding contamination.
01 April 2011
Taking the Fight to the Enemy
All I can say is: It's about time.