October 21, 2014

Landmark Family Farmers Lawsuit Against Monsanto Grows

pin it button Landmark Family Farmers Lawsuit Against Monsanto Grows

15 Landmark Family Farmers Lawsuit Against Monsanto Grows

Landmark Family Farmers Lawsuit Grows

Prominent Allies Join Effort to Reinstate Challenge to Monsanto Patents

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 17, 2012 – Eleven prominent law professors and fourteen renowned organic, Biodynamic®, food safety and consumer non-profit organizations have filed separate briefs with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit arguing farmers have the right to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement by agricultural giant Monsanto. The brief by the law professors and the brief by the non-profit organizations were filed in support of the seventy-five family farmers, seed businesses, and agricultural organizations representing over 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms that last year brought a protective legal action seeking a ruling that Monsanto could never sue them for patent infringement if they became contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed. The case was dismissed by the district court in February and that dismissal is now pending review by the Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs recently filed their opening appeal brief with the appeals court.

29 Landmark Family Farmers Lawsuit Against Monsanto Grows

“Monsanto continues to claim that Plaintiffs’ concerns about being accused of patent infringement after being contaminated by Monsanto’s transgenic seed are unsubstantiated and unjustified,” said attorney Dan Ravicher of the not-for-profit legal services organization Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), which represents the plaintiffs in the suit against Monsanto known as Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al. v Monsanto. “But now two impeccable groups have joined with plaintiffs in explaining to the Court of Appeals how real and legitimate their concerns really are, especially since Monsanto continues to refuse to simply promise never to sue contaminated farmers for patent infringement.”

The first group filing a brief in support of the OSGATA plaintiffs includes eleven prominent law professors from throughout the United States, including Professor Margo Bagley of the University of Virginia School of Law, Professor Michael Burstein of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Professor Rochelle C. Dreyfuss of the New York University School of Law, Professor Brett Frischmann of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Professor Erika George of University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, Professor Shubha Ghosh of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Professor Megan M. La Belle of the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, Professor Kali Murray of Marquette University Law School, Professor Ted Sichelman of the University of San Diego School of Law, Katherine J. Strandburg of the New York University School of Law, and Melissa Wasserman of the University of Illinois College of Law.

In their amicus brief, the law professors point out that, “broad standing to challenge the validity of patents ensures that the courts can effectively play their critical role in screening out invalid patents.” They add, “In actions challenging the validity of a patent, the alleged injury is not only the risk of an infringement suit, but a present restraint on economic activity due to the presence of a potentially invalid exclusive right.” The law professors went on to note, “But the validity of issued patents is uncertain until they are tested in court. This uncertainty creates real and present risks for persons wishing to engage in economic activity that might be the subject of an issued patent….When a person is deterred from undertaking valuable activity by the risk that the activity may encroach on another’s exclusive rights, that person has incurred an actual, concrete and particularized injury.”

“We are grateful for the brilliant and powerful amici briefs submitted to the appeals court by these two stellar groups, supporting our family farmers’ quest for justice,” said Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen, President of lead Plaintiff, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. “An erroneous interpretation of law by a single judge is not going to cause our farmers to abandon our rights to farm the way we choose, to grow good food and good seed for our families and for our customers, free from Monsanto’s trespass and contamination. Denial of the property rights of American farmers is an attack on the property rights of every American. We will fight until family farmers receive justice.”

The second group filing a brief in support of the OSGATA plaintiffs, made up of fourteen non-profit agricultural and consumer organizations, includes the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Food and Water Watch, International Organic Inspectors Association, Maine Alternative Agriculture Association, Michigan Land Trustees, Natural Environmental Ecological Management, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, Organic Consumers Association, Slow Food USA, Virginia Association for Biological Farming, Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association, and Wisconsin Natural Food Associates.

In their amicus brief, the non-profit agricultural and consumer organizations point out, “The Plaintiff and Amici organizations, farmers, and seed businesses have suffered significant harm due to the threat of patent infringement suits by Monsanto.” They also noted, “Defendants have chosen to patent products that, by their very nature, will inevitably end up on the private property of people who have no desire to use them. Plaintiffs’ uncontroverted allegations show that, for the first time in history, they can be sued for something as natural as pollen drift, while simultaneously being forced to take expensive and burdensome steps in order to continue their normal businesses. The quandary of this type of liability is precisely the sort of situation that the Declaratory Judgment Act was intended to address.” The amicus brief further explained, “The Supreme court has stated that the plaintiff “need not ‘bet the farm’” yet in this case, that is precisely what the district court effectively required Plaintiffs to do in order to get their day in court – continue farming the disputed crops until they are unquestionably liable to Defendants for potentially crippling levels of damage before being able to seek a declaratory judgment as to their rights…The district court noted that ‘unlicensed – and unintented – use of transgenic seeds is inevitable…’ but then failed to address the fact that such unlicensed use is actionable and places Plaintiffs at risk of enforcement actions by Defendants.”

“It’s time to end Monsanto’s scorched-earth campaign of frivolous lawsuits against America’s family farmers,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots community of more than 300,000 farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming food and agriculture. “Monsanto’s claims against farmers for patent infringement are exceedingly weak, violating Americans’ most basic sense of fairness and decency. Our Founding Fathers would be outraged”, stated Murphy.

 

About OSGATA: The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association is a not-for-profit agricultural organization made up of organic farmers, seed growers, seed businesses and supporters. OSGATA is committed to developing and protecting organic seed and it’s growers in order to ensure the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture. www.osgata.org

 

0 commentsback to post

Other articlesgo to homepage

Scientists Prove Goats Are Better Than Chemical Weedkillers

Scientists Prove Goats Are Better Than Chemical Weedkillers

Pin It

Science proves what farmers already know: Goats make excellent weedkillers. Herbivores—not herbicides—is the way to go, according to research published in the journal PeerJ.

Organics Board to Review Rules for BPA, GMOs, and GMO Vaccines for Animals

Organics Board to Review Rules for BPA, GMOs, and GMO Vaccines for Animals

Pin It

The National Organic Standards Board will be meeting later this month to discuss and vote on fundamental issues that will determine the future of organic foods. They plan to research whether BPA in the packaging of organic food should be banned. They also will tackle cross-contamination of organic crops from GMO crops, and other thorny GMO issues.

The deadline for comments is this week.

CSA Farm Offers “Health Care Shares” to Patients Selected by Their Doctors

CSA Farm Offers “Health Care Shares” to Patients Selected by Their Doctors

Pin It

A visitor who swings by the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) on a Wednesday afternoon will see rows opened boxes lined up across the barn floor. Farm crew members between the ages of 15 and 18 are distributing the week’s harvest evenly between the boxes.

But what might sounds like an ordinary community-supported agriculture or CSA farm, is nothing of the sort. In fact, all this fresh produce will be delivered—free of charge—to low income Vermonters through a unique partnership with area hospitals. Building on the CSA model, the farm at VYCC offers weekly “health care shares” during the growing season to patients who have been selected by their doctors.

USDA Approves Toxic Herbicide Amidst Great Public Outcry

USDA Approves Toxic Herbicide Amidst Great Public Outcry

Pin It

Dr. Oz caused a lot of controversy last week when he aired a show titled: New GMO Pesticide Doctors Are Warning Against. The show was highlighting the recent USDA approval of Dow Chemical’s herbicide “Enlist,” which is expected to gain the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This EPA approval would clear the path for the herbicide to begin being used on America’s farmlands and crops.

Dr. Oz apparently feels so strongly about this topic, and how toxic and dangerous this new herbicide is, that he reportedly did something he has never done before on his show: he encouraged his viewers and followers to take political action to try to stop the approval of this product from being used on food. He started a petition to President Obama on Whitehouse.gov, and by the end of the week it was well on its way to the required 100,000 signatures.

The controversial herbicide by Dow contains 2,4-D, a highly powerful and toxic component that supporters of GMO crops now say is necessary due to the fact that super weeds have become resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup containing glyphosate. If approved, it will enter the food supply and bring in potentially billions of dollars to Dow Chemical.

So I asked Health Impact News investigative reporter John P. Thomas to research 2,4-D and write a report, as well as to educate us a bit about the approval process with the EPA to get new chemicals approved for use in the marketplace. What you will learn about 2,4-D, which is about to be approved to be sprayed on crops all throughout the U.S., will indeed shock you.

Changing to non-GMO Soy Transformed the Health of my Pigs

Changing to non-GMO Soy Transformed the Health of my Pigs

Pin It

From the day that Danish pig farmer Ib Borup Pederson switched away from GM soy, his animals became healthier and more productive. Birth deformities reduced, sows became more fertile, medicine costs fell, and profits went up. The changes were linked to the reduction in the levels of the herbicide glyphosate in their feed.

read more


Get the news right in your inbox!