Monsanto Lawsuit

Hurrah!!!  I can finally tell a secret I’ve been sitting on since last December when the workers at Fedco met with Dan Ravicher to discuss signing on to this lawsuit.  The workers unanimously said “Hell YES!!!!”   And we became one of the plaintiffs.  Dan had asked us to sit on it until he was ready to file which he did yesterday in Manhattan.

Some folks weren’t quite as close-mouthed about it as they might have been.  This was published on the Green Plate blog back at the end of  January and since it is kind of good summary I am reposting it here:

“The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), a New York-based organization, is also getting ready for an intense, protracted battle. Its strategy: suing Monsanto under the Declaratory Judgement Act in order to counter its “aggressive strategy to enforce its patents”, as PUBPAT executive director and patent lawyer Dan Ravicher put it to the Eco-Farm Conference attendees (this strategy was successful in 2009 against the Federal government who ended up declaring that all patents granted for human genes were invalid).

The Declaratory Judgement Act was designed to afford a party threatened with liability (such as a farmer whose fields could be contaminated by proprietary GMO) an opportunity for adjudication before its adversary commences litigation (see Monsanto’s well-oiled strategy of suing farmers whose fields were contaminated by GMO, for “patent infringement”). This way, PUBPAT aims to deprive Monsanto of its main tools to keep pushing its domination over the seeds market and eradicating all competition. Indeed, if it succeeds, PUBPAT would practically render Monsanto’s patents irrelevant.

Dan Ravicher traveled especially from New York last week in order to meet with the Eco-Farm Conference attendees and to present the four legal arguments that PUBPAT intends to make to the judge:

1/ Monsanto’s patents are invalid

By law, patents must be new, non-obvious and useful. Not only are GMO not useful, but they are harmful for public health, the environment and society. Moreover, they are obvious since they derive from gene sequencing.

2/ Monsanto’s patents are not infringed

There is no intention on behalf of contaminated farmers to infringe patents. In facts, contamination causes damage to them.

3/ Monsanto’s patents are not enforceable

If both previous arguments fail and patents are still admitted by the judge as being valid and infringed, PUBPAT intend to demonstrate that they are not enforceable because they are being misused to gain undue control over the market. PUBPAT will have to demonstrate that Monsanto knew that their seeds would contaminate fields and push out competitive crops.

4/ Monsanto is not entitled to any remedy

Finally, no remedy is required because Monsanto has not lost a sale in the case of a field contamination. Consequently, it is not entitled to a penny of damages.

Only one argument needs to be successful for the case to be won. Conversely, Monsanto needs to win all four arguments to win the case. “Our goal is to prevent Monsanto from suing farmers. Beyond that, we fully intend to take advantage of the trial to expose Monsanto’s practices and educate everybody about the many issues connected to its business and its strategy”, Dan Ravicher said in Pacific Grove. The full process is expected to take three to six years.

PUBPAT intends to file the case in New York City within two months on behalf of two dozen plaintiffs (individual farmers and organizations that represent their interests). Dan Ravicher, who had also come to the Eco-Farm Conference in order to recruit candidates to fill in the ranks of the plaintiffs, witnesses and amici (people not involved in the case but who will be impacted by the outcome), found an especially receptive audience in the wake of the GM alfalfa announcement. Farmers and activists lined up behind the microphone to offer their support and, in many cases, their participation to the legal proceedings.”

So Hurrah for Fedco and the other 59 plaintiffs and now to the battle with one of the biggest corporate criminals in the world.  The folks who brought you GMOs, DDT, Agent Orange, PCBs and other great technological advances!!!

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