SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
Subscribing entitles a reader to complete stories on all topics released as they happen, special features, confidential documents and access to the complete, searchable story archive online back to 2004.
IP-Watch Summer Interns

IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

Inside Views

Submit ideas to info [at] ip-watch [dot] ch!

We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

The Politicization Of The US Patent System

The Washington Post story, How patent reform’s fraught politics have left USPTO still without a boss (July 30), is a vivid account of how patent reform has divided the US economy, preempting a possible replacement for David Kappos who stepped down 18 months ago. The division is even bigger than portrayed. Universities have lined up en masse to oppose reform, while main street businesses that merely use technology argue for reform. Reminiscent of the partisan divide that has paralyzed US politics, this struggle crosses party lines and extends well beyond the usual inter-industry debates. Framed in terms of combating patent trolls through technical legal fixes, there lurks a broader economic concern – to what extent ordinary retailers, bank, restaurants, local banks, motels, realtors, and travel agents should bear the burden of defending against patents as a cost of doing business.


Latest Comments
  • “We want everybody to agree on the science telling... »
  • So this is how we mankind will become extinct? No ... »

  • For IPW Subscribers

    A directory of IP delegates in Geneva. Read more>

    A guide to Geneva-based public health and intellectual property organisations. Read More >


    Monthly Reporter

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter, published from 2004 to January 2011, is a 16-page monthly selection of the most important, updated stories and features, plus the People and News Briefs columns.

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter is available in an online archive on the IP-Watch website, available for IP-Watch Subscribers.

    Access the Monthly Reporter Archive >

    US Farmers Sue Monsanto Over GMO Patents, Demand Right To Conventional Crops

    Published on 30 March 2011 @ 3:00 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The Public Patent Foundation filed suit yesterday against Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seeds with farmers asking to be protected against the biotechnology giant’s potential lawsuits in case of accidental contamination from plants grown with its seeds.

    On behalf of 22 agricultural organisations, 12 seed businesses and 26 farms and farmers, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) is suing the biotech company in the federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald.

    The organic plaintiffs had to pre-emptively protect themselves from potential patent infringement in case of accidental contamination of their crops by genetically modified organisms (GMOs), said PUBPAT.

    “This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed should land on their property,” said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s executive director and a law professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. PUBPAT is a non-profit legal services organisation based at Cardozo law school. Its stated mission is “to protect freedom in the patent system.”

    “It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients,” he said in a press release.

    According to the lawsuit, “coexistence between transgenic seed and organic seed is impossible because transgenic seed contaminates and eventually overcomes organic seeds.”

    “History has already shown this, as soon after transgenic seed for canola was introduced, organic canola became virtually extinct as a result of transgenic seed contamination. Organic corn, soybean, cotton, sugar beet and alfalfa now face the same fate, as transgenic seed has been released for each of those crops,” it reads.

    In a published commitment on farmers and patents, Monsanto states in Article 10 that, “We do not exercise our patent rights where trace amounts of our patented seeds or traits are present in a farmer’s fields as a result of inadvertent means.”

    The plaintiffs are largely organic farmers and organic seed businesses, but also include non-organic farmers who nevertheless wish to farm without transgenic seed, the lawsuit [pdf] says.

    Through the action, plaintiffs are asking that farmers whose crops are ever contaminated by Monsanto’s transgenic seed should not be sued for patent infringement.

    The plaintiffs also claim that “in addition to the economic harm caused by transgenic seed, it also has potentially severe negative health effects. For one, the design of Monsanto’s transgenic seed is purely so that it will be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. This means that as Monsanto’s transgenic seed becomes more widely used, then so too will glyphosate.”

    They said many countries, such as the European Union members, required clear labelling of transgenic food or ingredients, but that “Monsanto has fought vigorously to defeat any proposal for labelling of transgenic food in the United States.”

    Monsanto began applying for patents on glyphosate tolerance in the mid-1980s, say the plaintiffs, the first patents on the trait were granted in 1990 and are now expired. The plaintiffs claim that Monsanto continued to seek and receive patents on Roundup Ready technology for over two decades. They find that “Monsanto unjustly extended its period of patent exclusivity by duplicating its ownership of a field of invention already covered by other Monsanto patents. Monsanto’s transgenic seed patents are thus invalid for violating the prohibition against double patenting.”

    According to the PUBPAT release, many of the plaintiffs made statements upon filing of the suit. For example, Jim Gerritsen, a family farmer in Maine who raises organic seed and president of lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association based in Montrose, Colorado, said: “Today is Independence Day for America. Today we are seeking protection from the Court and putting Monsanto on notice. Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here. Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace – to decide what kind of food they will feed their families.”

    Ed Maltby, executive director of plaintiff Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) said, “It’s outrageous that we find ourselves in a situation where the financial burden of GE [genetically engineered] contamination will fall on family farmers who have not asked for or contributed to the growth of GE crops.”

    David Murphy, founder and executive director of plaintiff Food Democracy Now said, “None of Monsanto’s original promises regarding genetically modified seeds have come true after 15 years of wide adoption by commodity farmers. Rather than increased yields or less chemical usage, farmers are facing more crop diseases, an onslaught of herbicide-resistant superweeds, and increased costs from additional herbicide application.”

    “Crop biotechnology has been a miserable failure economically and biologically and now threatens to undermine the basic freedoms that farmers and consumers have enjoyed in our constitutional democracy,” Murphy said.

    Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. US Farmers Sue Monsanto Over GMO Patents, Demand Right To Conventional Crops | Health Impact News says:

      [...] by Catherine Saez [...]

    2. maria concilio says:

      Add my name to the list, I want to sue Monsanto as well! Well done, take back agriculture, our food supply, our right to eat whole natural food. Food Sovereignty, not agricultural slavery! I stand behind this ALL THE WAY.

    3. Mama Asantewaa says:

      when & where can we pack the courtroom?

    4. JJ says:

      I’d be there in the courtroom in a heartbeat!

      The biggest killer in America is without a doubt poor quality food sources. There is nothing better than good old fashioned agriculture and natural food.

      The fact that pesticides and GMO crops have lowered vitamin D levels in potatoes by over 50% in the last 50 years seems to be overlooked in place of profits. I’d love them to win this lawsuit.

    5. FarmBoy says:

      I find it interesting that more businesses and companies are part of this law suit than are farmers. Misleading headline (and article for that matter).
      -Should 26 farmers be given special treatment vs the thousands that endorse and use the technology to produce more and better food???
      -What backs up the claim of “potentially severe health effects”? Biotechnology has been used by farmers since 1995 – with no evidence of ill health effects.
      -How about organic crops go through the same scrutiny by EPA, USDA, and FDA that biotech crops go through before they are allowed to be planted? Think they would pass the test???
      -Where is the proof that Monsanto has sued farmers for their accidental contamination? Yes, they have sued those who stole the technology – canola is a case in point.
      -If there is so much concern about contamination of organic crops, what would happen if Monsanto did not try to protect their patent rights and contain the technology to licensed growers only?
      -Shouldn’t farmers who grow conventional crops also be allowed to sue organic farmers if their crops get contaminated by lower yielding inferior organic crops?

    6. Alaina says:

      Anyone want to bet FarmBoy is a plant? Not as in the green things, as in, someone who is paid to post misinformation under the appearance of Joe Average.

      -Monsanto is the one receiving special treatment, not those 26 farmers, which are representative of a greater whole
      – Use Google Scholar, there are a few studies out there that weren’t paid for by Monsanto that reflect some not so fantastic findings.
      – No reason to put them through such tests, as they are naturally occurring. Adding extra question marks won’t change the fact that GMOs are put through safety tests because they are not naturally occurring.
      – Don’t try to twist the Canola case to be what it isn’t. That was a clear case of contamination by Monsanto’s seeds and making it sound as though it was some great seed heist only benefits Monsanto.
      – The concern is over the fact that due to the voraciousness of Transgenic seeds. They say that in the article.
      – Finally, that’s just silly. And not an issue. Organic crops do not pose any threat to non-organic crops, nor are they inferior.

      Your entire post is like bullet points out of a Monsanto promo pamphlet.

    7. Kay says:

      Well said Alaina!

    8. Rajah says:

      The USDA and FDA are fully complicit…..GRAND JURY BY THE PEOPLE and take it all the way.

    9. patent litigation says:

      Although Monsanto certainly has the same right as any patentee to engage in patent enforcement, its aggressiveness in this area has not served its interests particularly well, at least in regard to public relations. Of course, any patent holder is legally entitled to protect and enforce its IP rights. But this is not similar to, say, an Apple patent on the newest touchscreen technology — because there is a nexus (or, perhaps, a conflict) between Monsanto’s IP rights and the rights of humans and animals to eat food to survive. Monsanto needs to acknowledge that its role is unique, and that its IP (being critical to the sustainment of life) is unlike most other IP; its public image would improve if the company demonstrated more sensitivity to this fact.

    10. Thanks to You, Our Campaigns Are Bearing Fruit | Welcome to the Alliance for Natural Health - USA says:

      [...] Patent Foundation (PubPat), filed suit against Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seeds. Organic farmers are asking to be protected against any lawsuits Monsanto might file against them in case their crops are accidentally contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified plants. They [...]

    11. FarmBoy says:

      You lose the bet Alaina. I am not a plant I was not paid to post anything. I am a private citizen that was born and raised on a farm, ate homegrown vegetables out of my Mother’s garden, worked on the farm, was educated in agronomy, and spent my entire life working in agriculture. My view of modern agriculture, conventional growers, organic growers, activist groups, biotechnology, food safety, and agricultural companies are based on my direct experiences. Not hearsay and blogs.
      The reason for my post is that information I perceive to be misleading deserves a response.

      No need for you to respond to this – your response to my earlier post speaks volumes about who you are and what you believe. Furthermore, you are most certainly entitled to your opinion. But then, so am I and I do listen to others and try hard to learn what the real truth is.

    12. LaughingMan says:

      Isn’t it hilarious how they fight back with
      “No need for you to respond to this – your response to my earlier post speaks volumes about who you are and what you believe.” as if it were supposed to be a negative comment. Since the inception of GE foods American kids and adults have gotten fatter, cancer rates are slowly rising and the thing about super weeds is true. By the way, anyone who ever been outside of the city for a month can say they were “born and raised of a farm” although mother’s quarter acre plot doesn’t really compare to hundred or thousand acre private lands that grow crops for sale purposes.

      If your going to try to talk badly about someone be more direct, draws more weight and less laughs. Goes for Alaina too though.

    13. Ryan Thompson says:

      I’m doing a business ethics paper on Monsanto. The fact that the American government allows this corporation to use its power to create a monopolistic market that goes completely against the free trading and free market rights, is disgraceful. Anyone in disagreement to this, FarmBoy, is sadly mistaken. If Monsanto showed up at your mothers small farm and then proceeded to take you and your family to court for saving her own seeds to grow next year, would you be playing the same tune? Doubt it.

    14. ACTA – what is normal about it? And what’s the benefit for multinationals? | Informed Americans says:

      [...] Perhaps i’m over exaggerating, but what if patented genetic modified seeds would spread and a farmer would grow them? Of who would his crops be, even if he has never bought those seeds? I have searched for studies about what i’m thinking and these are some things that i have found http://www.ip-watch.org/2011/03/30/us-farmers-sue-monsanto-over-gmo-patents-demand-right-to-conventi… http://www.ip-watch.org/2009/03/20/agricultural-technology-could-feed-rising-population-but-who-will-own-crops/ and for your information, this is how it’s spreading: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/publi/gmo/full_en.pdf . [...]

    15. Most-Read IP-Watch Stories Of 2012: India Pharma, Europe, ACTA, WIPO Technical Assistance, Gene Patents | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] US Farmers Sue Monsanto Over GMO Patents, Demand Right To Conventional Crops http://www.ip-watch.org/2011/03/30/us-farmers-sue-monsanto-over-gmo-patents-demand-right-to-conventi… [...]

    16. GMFuturos: The social and cultural contexts of GM technology « Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog says:

      [...] is grounded within its own political and social contexts.  Whether it is genetically modified seeds patented by multinational corporations or the attempt to engineer drought resistant crops, GM technology and human values are intertwined. [...]

    17. Monsanto, Myriad: Two US Legal Cases Shaking Biotechnology Industries | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] A decision is expected in spring of 2013 (IPW, IP Law, 30 March 2011). [...]

    18. Anya says:

      I’m with FarmBoy.
      Went to Google Scholar, just like Alaina said.
      Found this.
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/0272-4332.00062/abstract;jsessionid=26D7F86D76A374653369961B4A83E5FA.d02t01?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

      Rings true in this case.
      Naturalistic fallacy. Learn it. Quit it.

    19. patrick says:

      ok.
      I have to say im /w farmboy for the most part
      I think genetic modification of food is great idealy. It lets man to to do what would otherwise take a few life times of selective breeding and other older methods of genetic modification. Organic food is for people with the means to grow there own food or more money then sense.
      Natural by no means means safe and healthy.
      And that bush era WMD excuse dosent fly as evidance. ‘there are know unknowns, and unknown unknowwns’ as to say we don’t know what we dont know so its bad….. Those types of arguments apply to ‘Natural’ selection crops just as strong if not more, evolution of plants dosent consider humans

      That said, i think there should be a generation limit to there pattent for many reasons the main that come to mind.
      1. Being this type of case where there dna gets in naturaly.
      2. Being to allow evolution to keep going.
      3. To keep any company from owning all of any type of plant. Tho this points back to the first 2 reasons

      This was done on a cell phone in a fit of insomnia so please excuse typo’s and such

    20. GMFuturos: The social and cultural contexts of GM technology | Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog says:

      […] is grounded within its own political and social contexts.  Whether it is genetically modified seeds patented by multinational corporations or the attempt to engineer drought resistant crops, GM technology and human values are intertwined. […]


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
    Your IP address is 23.244.164.123