New threats by Monsanto have led to the filing of an amended complaint by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) in its suit on behalf of family farmers, seed businesses, and organic agricultural organizations challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed.
After the initial March filing of the lawsuit Monsanto issued a statement saying they would not assert their patents against farmers who suffer “trace” amounts of transgenic contamination. In hopes the matter could be resolved out of court, PUBPAT attorneys wrote Monsanto’s attorneys asking the company to make this promise legally binding. Monsanto responded to PUBPAT’s request by hiring former solicitor general Seth P. Waxman, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Wilmer Hale, who rejected PUBPAT’s request. He also confirmed Monsanto may indeed make claims of patent infringement against organic farmers who become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed.
We amplify the charge with the addition of 23 new plaintiffs−bringing the total number represented in the case to 83. The plaintiffs in OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto now include 36 family farmer, food, agricultural research, food safety, and environmental organizations representing hundreds of thousands of members including several thousand certified organic, biodynamic, or otherwise non transgenic family farmers.