Organic growers appeal case against Monsanto

Judge tossed the class action suit last month

Organic growers in the U.S. are appealing their lawsuit against Monsanto Co. over the companies patents on technologies for genetically modified seeds. Last month, a federal judge tossed out the class action lawsuit that a group of farmers had filed against the agriculture giant.

The case dates back to March 2011, when Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and dozens of other organic growers sued Monsanto challenging some of its patents and seeking protection against possible patent infringement lawsuits. Although none of the plaintiffs use Monsanto’s patented seeds when farming, they feared legal action if the company’s genetically modified seeds accidentally contaminated their crops.

"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," organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen, president of OSGATA and lead plaintiff in the case, told Thomson Reuters.

The group filed its appeal yesterday in the Federal Circuit. A Monsanto spokesman told Thomson Reuters that the company knew about the appeal and was confident about its “legal and practical stance.”

The company wasn’t so lucky in another one of its recent legal battles. In February, a court in France ruled Monsanto was responsible for poisoning a French farmer.  The agricultural giant is appealing that case.


Cathleen Flahardy

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