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Monsanto lawsuit

Judge Naomi Buchwald's dismissal of lawsuit against Monsanto spurs protests, blockade by food freedom advocates

Sunday, March 04, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Monsanto lawsuit, dismissal, public protest

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(NaturalNews) After many months of hopeful anticipation, a preemptive, class-action lawsuit filed by farmers seeking protection against Monsanto's predatory patent enforcements has been thrown out by U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald. And in response, a group of food freedom protesters stormed the front steps of Monsanto's Washington, D.C., office on Wed., Feb. 29, and staged a demonstration where they marched with signs and blockaded the front entrance of the building.

OSGATA et al. vs. Monsanto, which was filed on behalf of organic and non-GM farmers everywhere by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), addressed an important agricultural issue about which few people are aware. In the past, when Monsanto's genetically-modified (GM) seeds have contaminated non-GM and organic farms, the agri-giant has sued those farmers whose fields were contaminated on the grounds that they violated patent restrictions -- and in some cases, Monsanto actually won these lawsuits.

Seeking to protect themselves from such ludicrous and exploitative litigation, a consortium of farmers, seed companies, and agricultural organizations filed a preemptive lawsuit to stop Monsanto from ever again targeting farmers in this rapacious manner. The suit also challenged the legitimacy of Monsanto's seed patents in the first place, which many say are invalid because they do not meet the "usefulness" requirements under patent law.

But Judge Buchwald, who recently heard both sides of the story at a preliminary case hearing, has apparently decided to join forces with Monsanto by declaring the lawsuit to be "a transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists." And this statement clearly indicates that Judge Buchwald has failed to acknowledge the more than 100 instances in which Monsanto has already sued farmers for "patent infringement" when its own GM seeds and seed traits have inadvertently contaminated non-GM and organic fields.

"We're Americans. We believe in the system. But we're disappointed in the judge," said OSGATA president and organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen in response to the ruling.

Adding to Gerritsen's sentiment, Dan Ravicher, executive director of the Public Patent Foundation at Yeshiva University's Cordozo Law School, stated that Judge Buchwald's "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."

OSGATA and others are already planning to appeal the decision, which they see as a complete denial of reality. Though Monsanto claimed before the court that it would never sue a farmer over a contamination issue, this has already been shown to be false, a fact of which Judge Buchwald should have been aware.

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