A group of farmers sued Monsanto Co. (MON) in a challenge to the company’s patents for genetically modified seeds.
The lawsuit is preemptive to protect against patent- infringement claims should the farmers’ land and plants be found to have traits of Monsanto’s modified seeds, said the Public Patent Foundation, which filed claims today in New York on behalf of 60 family farms, seed businesses and organic-food groups. The lawsuit challenges the validity of 23 patents.
“It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by GM seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before,” Dan Ravicher, executive director of the patent foundation, said in an e-mail.
Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, called the case a publicity stunt and said its lawsuits don’t target farmers for “the inadvertent presence of biotechnology traits in their fields.” The company, which reported $10.5 billion in revenue for the year ended in August, alters the gene profile of seeds so they can withstand herbicides and fend off insects.
For more, see: Monsanto Sued by Organic Farmers Over Modified-Seed Patents