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Biotech Giant Monsanto Challenged in Supreme Court



Seventy-three parties—public advocacy groups, seed companies and U.S. conventional family farmers—appealed their case against agribusiness behemoth Monsanto to the U.S. Supreme Court on September 5. The case seeks to challenge Monsanto’s claims on genetically engineered seed patents and to put an end to what plaintiffs see as the company’s aggressive lawsuits against farmers whose fields have been contaminated by Monsanto Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).


The appeal follows a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision last June which ruled in favor of Monsanto, finding, according to the news service Reuters, that “organic growers had no reason to try to block Monsanto from suing them as the company had pledged it would not take them to court if biotech crops accidentally mixed in with theirs.”


At the same time, biotech crops such as genetically modified corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola, are widely used throughout the country and pollen and seeds can find their way into neighboring organic farmers’ crops. Farmers can also purchase seeds without being sure of their origins. Monsanto, in fact, has sued more than 100 farmers for patent infringement and has won cases against farmers found to have made use of its seeds without paying royalties.


The group of 73 pursuing the court action maintains that Monsanto’s patents are invalid to begin with and that its GMO crops are damaging to the environment and to farmers who experience contamination. Those concerned about genetically modified food products and wishing to take action can visit the NON-GMO Project website.