American Farmers Appeal to U.S.
Supreme Court to Seek Protection from Genetic Contamination and
Invalidate Monsanto's Patents on Genetically Engineered Crops
A group of 73
organic and conventional family farmers, seed businesses and public
groups asked the
U.S. Supreme Court today to hear their case against Monsanto
Company challenging the chemical and biotech seed giant’s patents on
genetically engineered seed. In Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association
(OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto, the plaintiffs have been forced
preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent
should their fields ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically
engineered seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the past.
In a June 10th ruling earlier this year, a three-judge panel at the
Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that a group of organic and
non-GMO farmer and seed company plaintiffs are not entitled to bring a
to protect themselves from Monsanto's transgenic seed patents "because
Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not 'take legal
against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of
biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen
the grower's land).'"
"While the Court of Appeals correctly found that the farmers and seed
sellers had standing to challenge Monsanto's invalid patents, it
found that statements made by Monsanto's lawyers during the lawsuit
case," said Daniel Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent
Foundation (PUBPAT) and lead counsel to the plaintiffs in OSGATA
et al v.
Monsanto. "As a result, we have asked the Supreme Court to
case and reinstate the right of the plaintiffs to seek full protection
Monsanto's invalid transgenic seed patents."
Petition filed today by lawyers for the family
farmers may be found here.
The plaintiffs brought the pre-emptive case against Monsanto in March
specifically seek to defend themselves from nearly two dozen of
aggressively asserted patents on GMO seed. They were forced to act
to protect themselves from Monsanto's abusive lawsuits, fearing that if
seed contaminates their property despite their efforts to prevent such
contamination, Monsanto will sue them for patent infringement.
“We have been farming for almost forty years and we have never wanted
to do with Monsanto,” said Jim Gerritsen, an organic seed farmer in Maine
and President of lead Plaintiff OSGATA. “We
believe we have the right to farm and grow good food the way we
We don’t think it’s fair that Monsanto can trespass onto our farm,
and ruin our crops and then sue us for infringing on their patent
We don’t want one penny from Monsanto. American farmers deserve their
Court so we can prove to the world Monsanto’s genetically engineered
are invalid and that family farmers deserve protection from Monsanto’s
In the case, the plaintiffs are asking the courts to declare that if
farmers are ever contaminated by Monsanto's genetically engineered
need not fear also being accused of patent infringement. One reason
this result is that Monsanto's patents on genetically engineered seed
invalid because they don't meet the “usefulness” requirement of patent
according to Ravicher. Evidence cited in the plaintiffs' court filings
that genetically engineered seed has negative economic and health
while the promised benefits of genetically engineered seed – increased
production and decreased herbicide use – are false.
As Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote in 1817, to be patentable,
invention must not be “injurious to the well-being, good policy, or
morals of society,” and “a new invention to poison people ... is not a
patentable invention.” Because transgenic seed, and in
Monsanto's transgenic seed, is “injurious to the well-being, good
sound morals of society” and threatens to “poison people,” Monsanto's
transgenic seed patents are all invalid.
With the rapid adoption of Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed
farmers have been faced with a rampant rise in
superweeds, with more than 49% of U.S.
farmers reporting glyphosate-resistant weeds on their
farm in 2012, up from 34 percent that farmers reported in 2011. In
scientists are reporting the growing failures of Monsanto’s genetically
engineered insecticide-corn, with reports from scientists in the
corn belt states detailing the rise of super insects becoming resistant
genetically engineered Bt toxin, leaving farmers vulnerable to the
corn rootworm, the number one threat to corn farmers.
“For the past twenty years, Monsanto has used its political and
to foist a deeply flawed technology on America’s farmers, consistently
underestimating the real risks of genetic engineering while putting
farmers, the environment and the public in harm’s way simply in the
profit,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food
Now!, a grassroots movement of more than 650,000 farmers and citizens.
leading arbiters of justice in the U.S., it behooves the Supreme Court
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
failed to live up to the marketing hype.”