|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|December 23, 2013||207-429-9765|
|Wood Prairie Farm|
Farmers vs. Monsanto: Organic Seed Growers, Family Farmers File Brief in Final Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Their Crops from Contamination and to Invalidate Monsanto’s GMO Patents
New York - Last week, the Public Patent Foundation filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto, in the hopes that the highest court in the land would hear and reinstate the case of 73 American organic and conventional family farmers, seed businesses and public advocacy groups that seek protection for America’s farmers from Monsanto’s frivolous patent infringement lawsuits, and their promiscuous genetically engineered pollen while also seeking to invalidate the patents on 23 of Monsanto’s GMO crops.
Earlier this month, Monsanto filed an opposition brief with the Supreme Court in a last ditch effort to deny a group of American family farmers and seed growers justice in their efforts to protect their farms and the integrity of their crops.
“In opposing our request that the Supreme Court take, and then reinstate, our case, Monsanto makes the same lame and untrue assertions that it made before,” said Daniel Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) and lead counsel to the plaintiffs in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto. “In our reply brief filed with the Supreme Court we point out precisely why Monsanto is wrong and that the case should be allowed to proceed,” claimed Ravicher.
In a June 10th ruling earlier this year, a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., issued a bizarre ruling that plaintiffs are not entitled to bring a lawsuit to protect themselves from Monsanto's transgenic seed patents "because Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes” as stated anonymously on the company’s website.
Farmers find this ruling inconclusive and insufficient to protect their future economic interests since the Court of Appeals readily admitted that contamination from Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops is “inevitable."
This Appellate Court ruling importantly validated that farmers do have a legitimate fear of contamination, something that the court and Monsanto’s own attorney, former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, admitted in court during oral arguments.
Despite dismissing the farmers' and seed growers’ case, the Court of Appeals ruling found the likelihood of contamination significant enough to order by estoppel that Monsanto make good on its promise not to sue farmers that are “inadvertently contaminated with up to one percent of seeds carrying Monsanto’s patented traits.”
“As a seed grower, who has spent the past 37 years of my life protecting and maintaining the integrity of my seed stock to provide clean, wholesome food to my customers, I find it unconscionable that Monsanto can contaminate mine or my neighbors' crops and not only get away with it, but potentially sue us for patent infringement,” said Jim Gerritsen, an organic seed farmer on Wood Prairie Farm in Maine and President of lead Plaintiff OSGATA. “The appeals court ruling fails to protect my family and our farm and has only complicated matters,”said Gerritsen.
Because of the insidious nature of GMO contamination and the fact that pollen naturally blows or migrates to neighboring fields, contamination of farmers’ fields above one percent is both predictable and unavoidable.
reports of contamination across
contamination events happened in the
similar event occurred in September when a
farmers, recent events in Washington and Oregon make clear that the
contamination are far-reaching in their impacts on farmers' economic
can be permanent and irreversible in their harm to our food supply and
be properly redressed by a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court,”
Murphy, founder and executive director of Food
advocacy group based in
time to end Monsanto's campaign of fear against America's farmers and
for farmers' right to grow our food without legal threats and
Farmers expect to hear whether or not the U.S Supreme Court will hear their case next year and eagerly await their day in court.
About Maine's Wood Prairie Farm (www.woodprairie.com; 800-829-9765)
Wood Prairie Farm is located in Aroostook County, Northern Maine's historic center of potato farming. For 37 years, Jim & Megan Gerritsen and their family have been farming organically and grow the finest potatoes, seed, grain and vegetables. Wood Prairie Farm's organic seed potatoes, kitchen potatoes, vegetable and cover crop seeds and other products are available direct to the customer by mail order from its website and catalog.
Wood Prairie Farm is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/woodprairiefarm.
Click on photo for High Resolution image.
OSGATA President Jim Gerritsen Video Interview on OVM Lawsuit by filmmaker Mathieu Asselin. http://vimeo.com/68624437
Complete background information about OSGATA et al v. Monsanto is available at www.woodprairiefarm.com
Background information on MOFGA's LD 718 GMO Label Bill Campaign.
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