Monsanto Sued Preemptively Over Genetically Engineered Seeds

A little known side of the food industry involves a giant company, Monsanto, and genetically modified soy, corn and other products. In essence, what Monsanto has done is to create pest-resistant genetically modified seeds for farmers to grow vegetables without the need to worry about insects infesting their crops, thus costing them money.

There’s just one wrinkle in the plan, well two really. The primary issue is that seeds are part of nature and they tend to blow around and get mixed up with other seeds. However, when those seeds happen to be genetically modified, patented seeds, the seeds then make corn and other products grown by farmers who don’t buy Monsanto seeds as a matter of course, patent infringers. Monsanto has been quite aggressive about pursuing their intellectual rights, suing farmers who accidentally used their patented seeds.

The other issue, which is actually not as important for the purposes of this story, though it’s still important in general, is that the spread of Monsanto’s seeds means that older, organic seeds are starting to go extinct since they are simply not getting used anymore. This is actually one of the many reasons that a seed repository has been established to protect seeds so that they won’t go completely extinct.

Now, however, a group of organic farmers is in the process of striking back, suing Monsanto in a pre-emptive strike to get them to guarantee that if their seeds are accidentally crossed with Monsanto’s they will be immune from prosecution. This is important as hundreds of farmers have been sued successfully by the company, many of them losing their life savings to their demands. The lawsuit is being pursued with the help of a non-profit organization, The Public Patent Foundation. The organization has promised to try to protect the rights of the farmers in question while getting Monsanto to back down.

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