Monsanto and its shareholders can temporarily rejoice. The multinational seed conglomerate won a dismissal of a class-action lawsuit challenging the company’s patents on genetically modified seed.
Monsanto is known for aggressively filing lawsuits against small farmers for patent infringement. Concerned farmers were no longer able to keep transgenic contamination out of their fields. Many farmers are forced to stop growing certain crops to avoid potential lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, threw out the suit, stating that it represented no controversy and that she had not jurisdiction in the matter. She further stated, “There is no evidence that plaintiffs are infringing defendants’ patents, nor have plaintiffs suggested when, if ever, such infringement will occur.”
However, the farmers are not backing down. We contacted Jim Gerritsen, President of The Organic Seed Growers Association (OSGATA), who notified us of plans to appeal Judge Buchwald’s decision.
We received the following statement from Daniel Ravicher, lead attorney for OSGATA:
While I have great respect for Judge Buchwald, her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world’s foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing. Her belief that farmers are acting unreasonable when they stop growing certain crops to avoid being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement should their crops become contaminated maligns the intelligence and integrity of those farmers. Her failure to address the purpose of the Declaratory Judgment act and her characterization of binding Supreme Court precedent that supports the farmers’ standing as ‘wholly inapposite’ constitute legal error. In sum, her opinion is flawed on both the facts and the law. Thankfully, the plaintiffs have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals, which will review the matter without deference to her findings.
Disappointing, yes. But no one expected an easy fight, right? This lawsuit threatens the very foundation on which Monsanto is built.
Are you fired up and want to help? Great! Please share this message with your social networks. Want to do even more? Wonderful! Support OSGATA.
As of this writing, OSGATA is currently working on a press release. We’ll be updating this post after it is issued.
UPDATE: OSGATA press release
via [Bloomberg Businessweek]