OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto

Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association et al. v. Monsanto

was filed in federal district court in Manhattan, NY, on March 29, 2011, on behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and agricultural  organizations it challenged Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered (GE) seed. This landmark lawsuit also sought Court protection, under the Declaration Judgement Act, for family farmers who, through no fault of their own, might have become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented GE seed and find themselves perversely accused of patent infringement.

Following an oral hearing in January of 2012, federal Judge Naomi Buchwald sided with Monsanto on their motion to dismiss. On July 5, 2012 the plaintiff group −which had grown to represent over 700,000 individuals and 4,500 farms− filed a brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, asking  the appellate court to reverse the lower court’s decision dismissing protective legal action against agricultural giant Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered seed.

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The oral argument on the Appeal was heard in Washington, DC, on January 10, 2013 and a ruling was issued June 10, 2013. In their ruling, the three justices on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit repudiated Judge Buchwald’s opinion, instead agreeing with plaintiff assertions. The Justices found that some contamination was “inevitable” and given Monsanto’s aggressive history of lawsuits against farmers, plaintiffs faced “substantial risk” of patent infringement litigation. The Court of Appeals issued an estoppel which legally bound Monsanto to courtroom assurances that Monsanto would not “take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen inadvertently blew onto the grower’s land).” The Justices ruled their estoppel had removed ‘substantial controversy’ and thereby mooted the case, leading to upholding dismissal.

On September 5, 2013, the plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to attain full protection for American farmers.  On January 13, 2013,  the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto. Farmers were denied the right to argue their case in court and gain protection from potential abuse by the agri-chemical and genetic engineering giant, Monsanto.  The partial victory of the ruling and estoppel by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit stand and remains  in effect.

Click here to read OSGATA’s Press Releases regarding the Monsanto lawsuit.

Related Documents

Brief filed by the Plaintiffs to the U.S. Supreme Court. 12/19/13.

Opposition brief filed by Monsanto to the U.S. Supreme Court. 12/9/13.

Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. 9/5/13.

US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Ruling in OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto. 6/10/13.

Transcript of Oral Arguments in OSGATA et. al. v. Monsanto.  1/10/13.

Oral Argument Recording 2012-1298: OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto. U.S. Court of Appeals from the Federal Circuit. 1/10/13.

Amici Brief filed by Law Professors. 7/17/12.

Amici Brief filed by Non-Profit Organizations. 7/17/12.

Appeal Brief. 7/5/12.

Notice of Appeal. 3/28/12.

Judge Buchwald’s Ruling. 2/24/12.

The complete transcript of the Oral Argument. 1/31/12.

Brief filed by the plaintiffs in opposition to Monsanto’s motion to dismiss. 8/11.

Friend-of-the-court amici brief filed by 12 organizations.

OSGATA Amended Complaint. 6/1/11.

Original OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto Filing. 3/11.

Related News

“Organic growers lose decision in suit versus Monsanto over seeds.” Reuters. 6/10/13.

“Monsanto versus the People.” Aljazeera. 1/14/13.

“Farmers Rally at White House to Protest Monsanto’s GMO Empire.” Common Dreams. 1/11/13.

“Small farmers optimistic in battle with with biotech giant Monsanto.” Penobscot Bay Pilot. 1/11/13.

“Maine farmer heads group challenging genetics giant.” Maine Sunday Telegram. 1/9/13.

“Maine Farmers Appeal Monsanto Ruling.” MPBN interview. 1/13.

“Maine farmers, others have court date to refute Monsanto ruling.” By Avery Yale Kamila. 11/24/12.

“Maine farmers get second chance in court against Monsanto.” By Whit Richardson. 11/24/12.

“The Truth About GMOs- A Potato Farmer Knows.” Jim Gerritsen. NYC. 10/22/12

“Beyond Monsanto: Rekindling a Healthy Earth in the Face of Corporate Farming.” By Burl Hall. OpEdNews. 9/7/12.

“Small Farmer Jim Gerritsen Takes on Monsanto.” Burl & Merry Hall interview (59:21) Jim Gerritsen. Envision This: BlogTalkRadio. 9/5/12.

“Natural Foodie: Food-Fight fallout May Drift Over Maine.” By Avery Yale Kamila. The Portland Press Herald. 9/5/12.

“Monsanto Comments on Myth about Accidental Pollination.” Hoosier Ag Today. 9/4/12.

“OSGATA Appeal Moves Forward in DC Court.” By Deniza Gertsberg. GMO Journal. 7/24/12.

“RadioActive” host Meredith DeFrancesco interviews Jim Gerritsen. WERU Community Radio− 89.9 FM Blue Hill, ME. 7/19/12.

Bill Moyers interviews Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically-Modified Seed. Bill Moyers. 7/13/12.

“Facebook ‘Likes’ Could Help Your Business.” By Veronica Hoyos Leonard. The Packer. 6/21/12.

“Organic Farmers vs. Monsanto: Appeal Filed!” By Jack Adam Weber. Wake Up World. 5/28/12.

“Apathy is Democracy’s Greatest Enemy.” By Lillian M. Lake. Eat Maine Foods. 5/23/12.

“Monsanto Allowed to Put Genetically Modified Food On Your Plate.” By Ada Kulesza. Lawyers.com. 5/16/12.

“Fighting for Family Farms and a Better Food Supply.” Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit. 5/14/12.

“An Organic Advocate for the Family Farm.” By Julia Miller.Sustainable Stories. 5/3/12.

“A Controversy Exists: Family Farmers Continue to Take on Monsanto.” By Margaret Riche. EcoCentric. 4/25/12.

“Seeds of Discontent.” By Julia Savacool. Gourmet. 4/25/12.

“VT House Agriculture Committee Passes H.722, The Mandatory GMO Labeling Bill But it Ain’t Over Yet!” By June Stoyer. The Organic View. 4/20/12.

“Appeal Filed in Case Against Monsanto.” By Deniza Gertsberg. GMO Journal. 04.04.12.

“Organic Farmers Succeed Despite Federal Court Defeat.” By Deniza Gertsberg. GMO Journal. 2/28/12.

“Occupy Our Food Supply.” By Dr. Vandana Shiva−of Plaintiff Navdanya. Food Freedom. 2/27/12.

“Monsanto Wins Lawsuit While Food Justice Advocates ‘Occupy’ Our Food System.” Common Dreams. 2/27/12.