Seed industry titan Monsanto is infamous for its patent infringement lawsuits against farmers for allegedly using its proprietary seeds without paying. Defendants often claim that Monsanto seeds are so prevalent that crops can’t help but become contaminated. And some farmers say they have stopped growing certain crops out of fear that they may someday be sued.
In an attempt to put an end to these suits, a group of organic farmers tried their own suit to preemptively stop Monsanto from suing them in case of accidental contamination. Alas, the judge in the case doesn’t see the sense in this and has dismissed the complaint.
In her dismissal of the case, the U.S. District Court Judge explains that Monsanto would have no reason to sue organic farmers because such businesses would have no interest in using genetically modified seed to begin with.
“Even were there credible threats of suit from defendants, there is no evidence that plaintiffs are infringing defendants’ patents, nor have plaintiffs suggested when, if ever, such infringement will occur,” she wrote in her ruling.
“Her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world’s foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing,” said the plaintiff’s lead attorney. “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.”
Monsanto is just fine with the ruling, and it believes that everyone else should be happy about it too.
“This decision is a win for all farmers as it underscores that agricultural practices such as ag biotechnology, organic and conventional systems do and will continue to effectively coexist in the agricultural marketplace,” said the company’s general counsel. “This ruling tore down a historic myth, which is commonly perpetuated against our business by these plaintiffs and other parties through the internet, noting that not only were such claims unsubstantiated but, more importantly, they were unjustified.”