Organic Farm Groups File Legal Challenge Against Monsanto
Written by Caroline Scott-Thomas
Published: 05 April 2011
The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) has filed a lawsuit against Monsanto aiming to prohibit the biotech seed giant from suing farmers if their non-GM crops should become contaminated with patented seed.
PUBPAT has filed the suit in the southern district of New York on behalf of about 60 farmers, seed and organic organizations, which claim that Monsanto has sued farmers in the United States and Canada in the past after its patented genetic material has inadvertently contaminated non-genetically modified (GM) crops.
PUBPAT’s executive director Dan Ravicher said: “This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed or pollen should land on their property. It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients.”