This morning, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., announced that it would hear the family farmers’ Appeal of Dismissal in Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto at 10am on Thursday, January 10, 2013. The landmark organic community lawsuit was originally filed in Federal District Court in March 2011.
OSGATA et al v. Monsanto challenges the validity of Monsanto transgenic patents and seeks preemptive court protection for farmers should Monsanto seed trespass onto our farms and contaminate our crops. The farmers are not seeking compensation in this lawsuit. Should contamination occur, innocent farmers would be placed in legal jeopardy and could be held liable by Monsanto for patent infringement because of the farmers’ “possession” of Monsanto technology without having paid royalty on that “possession.” The Plaintiff-farmers’ lawyers asked Monsanto for a binding legal covenant guaranteeing family farmers that they would not be pursued for patent infringement should they be contaminated. Monsanto refused to provide this assurance.
The Appeal cites legal and factual errors by Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald which in toto caused her to erroneously conclude that the farmers lacked standing under the Declaratory Judgement Act to seek court protection. Two powerful Amicii briefs were filed in support of the farmers’ position and will be considered by the three judge Appellate panel.
OSGATA President Jim Gerritsen said, “Family farmers are seeking justice from the courts. We are hopeful that the Appellate justices will agree with our strong legal argument that this case should go forward. American farmers want our day in court. Our right-to-farm and our livelihoods are at stake. We are prepared to prove to the court that the U.S. Patent Office improperly granted Monsanto their patents on genetically engineered seed.”