Organic Farmers Appeal Lawsuit To Preempt Monsanto From Suing Them

A month ago, a U.S. District Court threw out a lawsuit filed by a group of organic farmers who hoped to prevent lawsuits from seed titan Monsanto should their crops become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented, genetically modified seeds. Now those same farmers are hoping to get another day in court by appealing the case.

Though Monsanto’s seeds are widely used by many large farms, the farmers allege the company has a history of suing growers whose plants have inadvertently become contaminated by nearby crops that do use Monsanto seeds. Some say they have stopped growing certain items for fear that they will end up on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

In February, the U.S. District Court judge dismissed the case, saying, “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.”

But unwilling to let the matter rest, the group of more than 50 organizations filed its notice of appeal earlier today, seeking review by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

“Farmers are under threat. Our right to farm the way we choose, and to grow pure organic seed and healthy food on our farms for our families and for our customers is under assault,” said the president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, lead plaintiff in the case.

At the time of the dismissal, a Monsanto lawyer called the court’s decision, “a win for all farmers.”

Organic growers appeal lawsuit against Monsanto [Reuters]