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Monsanto May Have To Repay 10 Years of GM Soya Royalties In Brazil

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the bean-counters dept.

Biotech 377

scibri writes "Biotech giant Monsanto is one step closer to losing billions of dollars in revenues from its genetically-modified Roundup Ready soya beans, after the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled the company must repay royalties collected over the past decade. Since GM crops were legalized in 2005, Monsanto has charged Brazilian farmers royalties of 2% on their sales of Roundup Ready soya beans. The company also tests Brazilian soya beans that are sold as non-GM — if they turn out to be Roundup Ready, the company charges the farmers 3%. Farmers challenged this as an unjust tax on their business. In April a regional court ruled against Monsanto, though that ruling has been put on hold pending an appeal. The Supreme Court, meanwhile has said that whatever the final ruling is, it will apply throughout the whole country."

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Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (4, Interesting)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337275)

It's nice to see somebody standing up to Monsanto. Never has one company been so close to totally controlling the food supply for the entire planet. Their abusive practices with farmers both home and abroad have been well documented, and yet our elected leaders turn a blind eye.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337351)

Patents are the real problem. Monsanto designed these seeds to be sterile, so you have to keep rebuying the same product year-after-year (instead of just reusing last year's seeds for the new crop). Also the seeds cross-polinate to non-Monsanto seeds, polluting nature's generic seeds with Monsanto genes. And worst of all:

Monsanto has a nasty habit of suing innocent farmers who have decided to continue using the "generic" seeds provided by nature. They send-round lawyers to harass the farmers, issue threatening letters, and file court cases. Oftentimes these lawsuits bankrupt the farmer, which was Monsanto's original intent: To eliminate people who are not using their products. Their tactics are very similar to how the bastards at the RIAA and MPAA act, but very much more destructive.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337385)

No they don't.

They do not sue innocent farmers who use windblown cross-pollinated seeds.

They sue farmers who knowingly use seeds with the Monsanto gene in them without paying.

People on the internet seem to think if they keep repeating a lie, it'll become true. Totally ridiculous.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (5, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337431)

And how do those genes get in the seed?

Are you seriously suggesting that there are illegal seed factories out there making generic versions of Monsanto's seeds?

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337591)

They're called bees.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337825)

Which wouldn't "bee" a problem if the seeds were sterile.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (3, Informative)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338023)

Wow talk about splitting hairs, the person I replied to said that this was not the result of cross pollination due to wind blown pollen, but now you are saying well they weren't windblown, they were carried by bees.

Why in the fuck does it matter how the cross pollination happened, whether bee or blown, it has the same result.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (3, Interesting)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338121)

So let me get this straight.

If the uncontrollable wind blows some Monsanto pollen on your field, you are innocent.

But if uncontrollable bees transfer pollen from a Monsanto field to your field, then you are "knowingly [using] seeds with the Monsanto gene in them without paying"?

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337433)

Why should the farmers pay for seed that Monsanto freely pollinated? No one forced Monsanto to let their plants spread that genetic material. They could require their growers to keep their plants only indoors.

Farmers should be able to sue Monsanto for contaminating their fields if anything.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (5, Interesting)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337767)

Mod parent up! A farmer can't help it if his field is being polluted by Monsanto's seed...even if it might be financially beneficial. If a coal mine created a pile of coal and the pile started spilling over into my property, then there are 3 options:

1. The coal mining company sues me for having their coal on my property (at no fault of my own)
2. I sue the coal mining company for putting their coal on my property
3. We call it a truce, and I just keep and sell the coal on my property

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40338101)

Anyone know if Monsanto has been sued for crop contamination? In this case, there is a 1% fine for Monsanto's behavior which would seem to imply people are financially harmed by Monsanto's actions. Surely people have recourse for Monsanto's damages?

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337463)

Yes they do, and I wish you would stop repeating the lie that that don't http://www.percyschmeiser.com/conflict.htm.
So good luck finding a citation for "they do not sue innocent farmers".

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337469)

>>>They sue farmers who knowingly use seeds with the Monsanto gene in them without paying. People on the internet seem to think if they keep repeating a lie, it'll become true.
>>>
TRUTH not lies. They sue people they SUSPECT are using the gene, based upon flimsy evidence like, "Farmer John Does uses a shaking machine to extract seeds from his crop, and saves the seeds for next year." Then they send-round the lawyers to *invade* the man's property, confirm such a machine exists, and start issuing cease-and-desist letters (presumption of guilt just because he saves his seed). If the farmer continues using the machine, the lawyers sue the man. They act VERY much like how RIAA and the MPAA act when they send extortionate letters & file lawsuits against "John Does" who are entirely innocent of any crime (except they used bittorrent).

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (3, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337505)

I don't often agree with you, cpu6502, actually close to never. But when it comes to Monsanto, I wholeheartedly do. And I happen to be a biochemist working in a patent law firm....

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (-1, Flamebait)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337559)

by Anonymous Coward writes:
on Friday June 15, @06:09AM
They sue farmers who knowingly use seeds with the Monsanto gene in them without paying.

Burn in hell anonymous COWARD and use your actual ID instead of hiding like a little pussy girl. Plus read: http://www.percyschmeiser.com/conflict.htm [percyschmeiser.com] There are also a TON of videos on youtube documenting Monsanto's RIAA/MPAA-like actions against farmers, destroying them in the process. I don't even know why slashdot allows registered users to post as ACs.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337707)

Read the other reports, like the wikipedia page.

Schmeiser admitted that he sprayed roundup on seeds that were windblown onto his property. He then selected the seeds that survived and planted them.

(from wikipedia)

'The patent infringement finding was based solely on the determination that Schmeiser had recognized the cross-contamination, and knowingly went on to collect the crossbred seed, then replant and harvest it the next year. No punitive damages or the costs of the technology use fee were awarded to Monsanto, as the Supreme Court also ruled 9-0 in Schmeiser's favor that his profits were exactly the same with or without the presence of the Roundup Ready Canola.'

This falls under my statement:

'They sue farmers who knowingly use seeds with the Monsanto gene in them without paying.'

It doesn't fall under the statement that Monsanto sues farmers who suffer from windblown contamination.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

sarysa (1089739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337979)

And naturally, because there is one case documented on wikipedia of windblown seeds, (that should have been sterile in the first place? I'm not hip to the whole story...) all the farmers that Monsanto has crushed are evil thieving bastards who brought it upon themselves! And don't get me started on those medieval peasant farmers 700+ years ago who would use windswept seeds from their neighbor's land and cultivated them! Rotten, scum of the earth hooligans! It's like they went over to their neighbor's and clubbed them with a spade!

Seriously AC, give it up. No one's buying it. Go back to your little PR cubicle over at Monsanto HQ and find somewhere else on the internets to spout your bullshit.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40338097)

Did you actually read the GP's comment? Because your comment doesn't have anything to do with what he just said.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40338009)

How is this modded down? That bit of evidence is important and left out of the GP's article.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

sarysa (1089739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338111)

Translation:
Bob: Hey Phil, we're losing them over here. Help me out.
Phil: Got it, Bob. I just posted an anonymous, quasi-NPOV reply to your unpopular post. They'll never catch on.
Bob: Thanks, Phil. Surely these neerdowells will come to see things our way...

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337785)

Article ends with a donation link to fight GM food. Between that and the tone of the article, I sense and ulterior motive from its author.

Note: Notice how I said nothing related to my opinion on gene patenting and infringements caused by cross-pollination. Anyone planning on replying to my comment, please keep this in mind.

ROFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337981)

Slashdot allows it because the userbase demands it. Your sexist similes won't change that a bit.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337765)

I'd say that the potential for cross pollination alone makes Monsanto seeds an inherent nuisance, and by that I mean in the legal sense.

Cross pollination contamination is IMO a foreseeable consequence and I think that makes Monsanto negligent.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337781)

then what is that 3% tax on crops that test as GM, instead of the 2% tax on farmers who bought the GM seeds. Read TFA!

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338077)

I'm as anti-Monsanto as anyone, but I'm also anti-propaganda. The parent is to some extent correct. They sue both innocent farmers AND farmers who have knowingly screened their seeds for cross pollination contamination and used them anyway.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (-1, Flamebait)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337407)

If I was standing in front of the Monsanto CEO, and someone handed me a gun or knife or hammer, there would be no more CEO. Just a corpse. Tyrants who treat the People like serfs, and destroy their freedom to "pursue happiness" as farmers, deserve nothing less than death.

Or I could just run for Congress and try to change things from the inside, like Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0, Flamebait)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337575)

If the world were populated with jackassery such as yourself, more people would die, not less, as technology would lag as people gave up developing it because it got looted as soon as they developed it.

You are part of the problem, not part of the solution, regardless of how big and kind you think your heart is.

A kind heart + slower tech = mass murder. The road to Hell is paved with good intent.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (-1, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337791)

>>>If the world were populated with jackassery such as yourself, more people would die, not less, as technology would lag as people gave up developing it because it got looted as soon as they developed it.

Indian farmers are killing themselves in droves because they can't repay their loans to Monsanto, and the supposed "better" crops are dying instead of growing. In fact farmer suicide is now the #2 killer in India. If you consider this a "better world" then you're really F'd in the head.

I'm not opposed to the idea of patents and copyrights, but when they make things WORSE instead of better, then they are not achieving their original goals. (And 100+ years is nucking futs. They should not last any longer than one generation/20 years. That's plenty of time for the inventor or artist to earn-back money for his labor.)

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40338135)

Yeah, you realize that copyrights and patents don't last the same length of time, right? Or would that distract from your narrative too much?

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337955)

We've been improving crop yields for centuries without patents - so sorry you fail.
The fact that Monsanto takes the patent, beats on anyone and everyone they can, using the patent as a flail until it's set to run out, then re-patents a new gene with some gene-bit-flipped that does nothing (They think) and continues to flail all those around.

hmmm - sounds to me like getting rid of monsanto would be a good thing....

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337447)

I am not a Monsanto fan, but they have never commercialized or sold a "sterile" seed. If they did, why would cross pollination be a problem? How could they sue farmers for using non-Monsanto seeds? They test and go after farmers who are cultivating crops that have one of their genes but did not buy their seeds, sometimes due to innocent cross pollination, sometimes due to farmers intentionally harvesting seeds and not buying the next year.

If you are going to attack someone, at least have your facts straight.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337679)

So, Monsanto is selling seeds that are simultaneously sterile *and* capable of cross-breeding? How does that work? Aren't those two traits, like, mutually exclusive or something?

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (4, Informative)

Iceykitsune (1059892) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338025)

the seed is sterile the pollen is not

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (3, Funny)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337691)

Monsanto has a nasty habit of suing innocent farmers who have decided to continue using the "generic" seeds provided by nature. They send-round lawyers to harass the farmers, issue threatening letters, and file court cases. /p>

So the plants make the farmers Roundup Ready as well?

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337803)

polluting nature's generic seeds with Monsanto genes. And worst of all:

That's a WAR CRIME
an attempt on every human's life, we have the right because of self defense to cut them down

Somebody who upholds the motherfucking LAW better wake up soon.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337831)

Monsanto designed these seeds to be sterile

IMO, that qualifies as a crime against humanity.

This one example should end forever any discussion of the benefit from an unregulated free market. And no, regulations that are written by the companies being regulated do not qualify.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (2)

Joey Vegetables (686525) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338147)

It is not an "unregulated free market" if rule of law does not exist, if some are able to bribe governments for special privileges, such as the privilege of being able to poison some people and extort from others, without any way for the victims to fight back. And in any sort of "regulated" economy, who exactly do you think has the power to write and to enforce the regulations? Hint: not you or me or the small farmer. The regulations are to benefit and protect the regulated (Google for "regulatory capture").

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337887)

If the plants were sterile they wouldn't cross pollinate other farmers' crops.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

Sentrion (964745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338133)

The plants cannot produce seed if they are sterile, and with corn, the "seed" is the crop. The seed produced might be sterile, but this still does not seem to be the case since some farmers have been accused of saving and planting the supposedly "sterile" Monsanto seed. That said, the flowers need to pollinate in order to produce the Roundup Ready seed (ie crop). So cross pollination is virtually impossible to prevent unless those growing the plants are required to grow them indoors. But how would Monsanto police it's own customers to prevent cross-pollination?

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337991)

I don't think you understand how bad this stuff is. People are unsure if GMO is modifying *people* as well. So it's not just the patent and greed issues, GMO is literally affecting DNA/RNA. So it's another case where greed is literally bring down society in the same way as MPAA/RIAA.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (5, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337359)

It's not every day you see someone make the RIAA and MPAA look like amateurs.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (4, Funny)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337553)

this is not funny.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337611)

Oh no. Monsanto is the amateur. You don't see Monsanto getting the FBI to get a foreign gov't to seize a farmers land and begin extraditing him for selling seeds supposedly patented by Monsanto.

When you are good, you get the gov't to spend far more money and effort implementing/following your agenda than you have ever given to the gov't.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40338033)

And when you're really good, you do it without very many noticing...

You must not be paying attention - Monsanto nearly owns the U.S. govt.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337487)

You assume this is abusing farmers rather than farmers fraudulently using Monsanto seed without paying for it.

I have sympathy for farmers who have tainted seed.

I have no sympathy for farmers who steal or lie about their seed.

It's one thing to say this or that should not be patentable, but it is allowed currently, and deserves the full legal protections of the government, which is why we have patents.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337645)

>>>I have no sympathy for farmers who steal or lie about their seed.

Please explain how someone steals seed? The seeds produced by Monsanto crops are sterile, so there's no point to sneak into a neighbor's field & steal his sterile seed. It won't grow. Please enlighten us Mr. Monsanto employee how this supposed stealing happens then???

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337947)

They're simply not sterile. Having worked on these patents (that is, seeing actual field data) I can state that certainly. But go look it up somewhere.

The whole reason there is controversy is the replanting of 2nd generation seeds. And as a note for the rest of you: Monsanto is doing exactly what they should. Maximizing shareholder value within the limits of the law is the fundamental basis of our entire economy. Change the law if you don't like it, but stop placing blame on one company.

And don't give me some crap about farmers tradition etc. The whole reason there is a 'license' with respect to these seeds is to ensure Monsanto can address patent exhaustion. If I patent a universal fabrication machine and sell you one, unless it's clear you're buying it and using it for some other purpose, there'd be nothing stopping you from having it make more universal fabrication machines.

Stop bitching about Monsanto and fix the law.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337801)

The problem is that just like the MAFIAA Monsanto doesn't give a damn if the people they sue are actually guilty.

Shutting down farmers that don't buy from Monsanto is in their best interests whether or not the farmers are innocent, so they have no incentive to be reasonable when all they have to do is make a legal show of force to get the poor farmers to cave without a fight.

Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337593)

Oh they aren't blind.

They just prefer looking at barrels of money shoved in front of them by lobbyists.

general thing (1)

perles (1855088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337287)

I hope this happens in other countries as well.

Too much control (5, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337291)

To have one company have total control over a food source is disturbing. They essentially have a monopoly and have risked destroying non GM crops through cross-contamination and I think it should be Monsanto that should be paying damages to farmers who do not want to deal with GM crops.

Re:Too much control (2)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337339)

Yep, probably cross contamination. If a farmer doesn't want to use a GM crop he shouldn't have just because his neighbor got a little too close with his crop.

Re:Too much control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337369)

100% agree with this. It is amazing how abusive that company is and scary how much control they have.

Re:Too much control (-1, Flamebait)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337639)

They don't have total control over any food except their own engineered food.

If you have issues with contamination, say so. Clearly you also have problems with people developing new products and being secure in their exclusive right to it for a limited period.

You are no friend of humanity. This destroys technological progress, leading to megadeaths through delayed tech advancement.

You just have no parallel world you can show with corpses piled up to compare to the more rapidly-advancing eociety.

Broken business model. (5, Interesting)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337293)

If Monsanto can't find a way to make money on their product without special government intervention like this, their business model is broken. The point where they make money should be (only) when they sell their product to a farmer. All this bribery and whatnot to get special laws or to abuse existing laws to prop up their business model is nonsense.

And I'm not even against GM foods, I find most of those people to be clueless Luddites. I'm just against their corrupt business model enabled by corrupt governments.

Re:Broken business model. (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337405)

How about not letting them patent living things?

I think that would be enough. A farmer should be able to save seed, or benefit from cross pollination. In the later case I can't even think of a reasonable argument against it. If you don't want to give away your plants genetic material then grow it indoors.

I think GM foods are fine, and even useful, but I don't think you should be able to make your neighbors responsible for material you are spreading freely.

Re:Broken business model. (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337631)

If Monsanto can't patent the GM crop you created, Monsanto is not going to create any GM crops.

Re:Broken business model. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337787)

If Monsanto can't patent the GM crop you created, Monsanto is not going to create any GM crops.

Fine, there's no reason a private entity has to. Tons of public research has been sold off to private entities over the years and then they claim total ownership of the end result. We're free to pursue public research to the end and create these things. They are supposed to be for the public good, after all. If they benefit all mankind then by all rights these are the things we should be funding (just as we publicly fund a lot of medical research).

Re:Broken business model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40338093)

Why should they be able to patent something I created?

Re:Broken business model. (0)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337863)

In which case the incentive to develop pest-resistant, high-yield and other modified crops that allow supporting 7+ billion people goes away. Monsanto isn't a charity, and would be absolutely within their rights to stop allowing Brazil to use their products. Yield per acre goes down, food prices go up, and the very poorest starve. Bottom line: cash-grabbing research companies with a shrill "big corporations bad! Seizure of money good!" results in zero reason to try to develop new crops or medicines. Does anybody stop to think about the consequences of attacking pharmaceutical and food companies and making cash grabs like this?

But who cares about THAT? It's only equatorial brown-skinned people who will feel the worst of it, and they don't count for anything at all, right, privileged white-boy apologists? Fuck the brown people, we gotta get our SUE on, because that makes mama's-boy college kids feel powerful! We're not the ones who are going to go hungry.

Re:Broken business model. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337937)

So Monsanto are they only people that could do that?

In the past seed lines were created by government agriculture programs I see no reason why that could not be the case today.

Brazil could continue to use these products without paying, when you have your own country you can do stuff like that.

Re:Broken business model. (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337903)

I have no problem with them patenting things they invent, alive or not. I have a problem with them asserting ownership of something, anything, that occurs after they've sold a _physical thing_ (seeds) to someone else. Once the farmer buys it, it's his. Any seeds that come from it later are his.

If Monsanto can't somehow make sterile seeds or something, tough luck - broken business model. They had their "Terminator seeds", that's what they should sell and if the market doesn't like it then tough.

Re:Broken business model. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337859)

Luddites?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/19/monsanto-gm-corn-causing_n_425195.html [huffingtonpost.com]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/genetically-modified-soy_b_544575.html [huffingtonpost.com]

http://www.mindfully.org/GE/2005/Modified-Soya-Rats10oct05.htm [mindfully.org]

basically, no one does ANY testing, they just trust that Monsanto says that it is safe,

http://www.fda.gov/Food/Biotechnology/Submissions/ucm161107.htm [fda.gov]

And please, don't get me started about "nature does it for millennia" bullshit. Nature does not insert random genes from some weird funguses or fish into corn (or other plants).

The natural world will have NO PROBLEMS paying the price in working around these new toxins in the plants. It will take a few years and hundreds of generations of critters, but they will adapt. Are we willing to pay the same price too? Sooner or later, we may just find our that our improved food is killing us and we don't know why.

We have evolved to eat the food we have available, not the other way around. We are FAR away from an understanding how our body works completely. We know the big picture, but that's it. So please, don't call people that question our "perfect understanding of nature" into question. You just sound like those stupid people,

http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/06/12/2148229/why-smart-people-are-stupid [slashdot.org]

It's their business model... (4, Insightful)

jklappenbach (824031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337353)

Monsanto needs to rethink their business model. While some may have emotionally based reactions toward GM in general, the consensus is that it's an essential tool in the effort to feed the world's growing population. In order to continue, Monsanto needs to stop thinking in terms of genetics as intellectual property, and being paid for wherever their genomes spread. Instead, they need to focus on their relationship with the farmer, and making that relationship essential enough to pay for on a yearly basis. Aside from the product of seed, there are a wide number of services that Monsanto can and should be providing to farmers to help ensure that yields remain high as well as managing business and ecological concerns. Instead of alienating, they should be making themselves as useful as possible.

Re:It's their business model... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337557)

There are quite a few of my genes in both Monsanto's fouder, their current CEO, and their top scientists. How much do they owe me ?

Re:It's their business model... (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337823)

Depends... how much was your hourly rate? :P (sorry, had to...)

Re:It's their business model... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337839)

Monsanto's business model is using extortion to intimidate their competition into going away. If they shut down an innocent farmer simply because he is too broke to fight back, they still win.

no, it's not (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338063)

Monsanto doesn't need to rethink their business model. When it comes to greed and capitalism, they have succeeded. They're raking in gigantic profits. Why should they change?

It's the countries that allow this which need to rethink whether they want to allow Monsanto - which they should not. Businesses which are anticompetitive are supposed to be penalized by antitrust, etc.

Re:It's their business model... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40338117)

Why? It's working. Completly scummy, maybe. But it's putting money in the bank at the expense of the rest of us.

Re:It's their business model... (1)

a_claudiu (814111) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338141)

While some may have emotionally based reactions toward GM in general, the consensus is that it's an essential tool in the effort to feed the world's growing population.

Citation please

Frosty Poo Poo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337373)

Monsanto can DIAF!

Finally, sanity in the courts (5, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337375)

I know patents protect against independent invention, reverse engineering, etc. but if your product produces seed that "infects" another field or wind blows those seeds to another field, you are NOT entitled to royalties on those seeds.

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337459)

Monsanto shouldn't be allowed to assert rights on second generation seeds. If they want to protect their GM products, they need to make them sterile.

Imagine if a company used their patented method to modify your genes to fix a genetic defect in you. For $100,000 they cured your diabetes. Then what would happen if they asserted that you owed them an additional $100,000 for every child you had, and every grandchild born within the patent term? If you didn't pay per child, and they were found to have the fixed gene, you owed them $150,000 each.

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337519)

Sterility might be difficult. If plants don't flower and pollinate themselves, then there will be no seeds. So the sterility has to happen in the seed - it must be incapable of producing a viable plant. But what happens if the pollen from one of these plants pollinates a 'natural' plant? Just imagine the outcry if neighboring farmers are unable to use their own seeds for planting next year.

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337715)

Monsanto has already perfected sterile seeds. - "Just imagine the outcry if neighboring farmers are unable to use their own seeds for planting next year." - That's exactly what's happening. And farmers get sued and driven out-of-business trying to defend themselves, when they are completely innocent.

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337799)

They are forbidden (by Monsanto) from using the seeds, they are not unable to use them. But imagine what would happen if they planted the seeds, but no plants grew. No harvest at all that year. I'm pretty sure Monsanto would go bankrupt quickly if things like that happened (not that I think that one less Evil corporation would be a bad thing).

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338061)

They need to sue the farmers who let the seeds escape. Unless and until the contaminated farmers become complicit they should not be subject to anything beyond an injunction.

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337461)

Unless you're Monstanto in Canada or the United Corporations of America (and most other contries, except maybe Brazil!)... Then you're entlitled to royalties on those seeds.

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337565)

This is were the IP system gets turned into madness at the moment - they are spearheading to kill the whole concept of the first sale doctrine with that... And they seem to succeed

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338089)

This is just Monsanto using patent infringement as an excuse to send lawyer goon squads after people they'd rather eliminate anyway.

They don't have to be right. They just have to look good enough not to get called on it. They do that and their superior legal budgets handle the rest.

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (1)

fredprado (2569351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337633)

Apparently here in Brazil you are indeed not entitled to royalties in this case anymore. Fortunately.

I bet in US they are though...

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337747)

Actually, in the US, it doesn't matter how those seeds get there. Whether a truck hauling them tips over in your field, the wind carries them into you property, squirrels and other varmints transport them to your land, or even if a Monsanto employee throws the seeds in your field himself. The only determination that is used on whether you are infringing on Monsanto's patents is if the seeds are on your land. That's it.

If it is found that their patented crops are in your field, then you must remove all of them, and you cannot keep the seed from those plants.

Re:Finally, sanity in the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337809)

The article doesn't say they collect royalties from windblown seeds. It says they collect royalties on seeds that are SOLD as non-GM but contain their genes.

You get windblown seeds for free, this about seeds that are bought and sold.

CHUPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337403)

VAGABUNDA!

Pros of Monsanto? (3, Interesting)

s1d3track3D (1504503) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337503)

So from everything I've heard and read about Monsanto, it is the epitome of evil and functions with impunity here in the US. That Brazil would be the stand up (and win) against them is very inspiring and should set an example.

However to play devil's advocate, are there any benefits to a company such as Monsanto?

Re:Pros of Monsanto? (0)

preaction (1526109) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337619)

Their GM crops produce more yield and are the difference between starvation and barely-above starvation for some parts of the world. Their PR is mostly true, they just leave out the whole "legal attacks against farmers not using Monsanto products" part.

Re:Pros of Monsanto? (3, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337653)

To do the research behind GM seed/food is actually a great thing; they've proven to be safe, often more nutritious, and grow with less pesticides and run-off into the ecosystem. In short, GM foods are great.

The problem of course is that Monsanto is almost a monopoly, and they are an egregious patent abuser. That leads people like Jeffrey Smith (the "King" of the 'natural foods' movement) to capitalize on making a patent abuser also somehow relate to making an unsafe product by using dubious "evidence" to damn them. Then a bunch of morons run into the fray saying "SEE! I told you GM foods are bad for you! I'm going FULLY organic!" which basically serves no purpose than to empty your wallet faster.

The problem is as nerds and what I hope would be a generally more scientifically "apt" community as here on Slashdot, I'd hope that we stand up for what's right and good. And GM foods are not evil. They are actually wholly beneficial to us as both an ecosystem (the human one) and as scientists who look to gain more yields and benefits through nutrition. And the Jeffrey Smiths of the world are ruining that. They are basically the equivalent of intelligent design advocates, or anti-evolution nuts. They have no place in our scientific discourse, but due to the evil that Monsanto operates with, they are given a pass because they associate the evils of PATENT abuse, to bad science. They are not one in the same.

Re:Pros of Monsanto? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337687)

Those who own Stock in Monsanto benefit, or anyone who makes money with their product.

Re:Pros of Monsanto? (3, Informative)

stan_qaz (2482542) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337735)

They and Bill Gates play well together? Google: Monsanto "Bill Gates" - but only if you want to get really aggravated.

Re:Pros of Monsanto? (2)

seepho (1959226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337851)

I'd say producing herbicide-resistant crops is a plus, and I bet some of the farmers who feel that product is worth purchasing would agree with me.

Re:Pros of Monsanto? (2)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337949)

Indeed. It's not as though there are no non-GM non-Monsanto seeds to buy and plant. The Monsanto ones are just that much better.

They have really smart scientists... (0)

alispguru (72689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337909)

and really evil lawyers.

Monsanto will make up the loss... (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337615)

By examining every United States Citizen.

If it's determined that we've eaten food that is GM'ed by Monsanto, we will all have to pay a 3% royalty for their intellectual property now being a part of our genetic makeup/biosystem.

Re:Monsanto will make up the loss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337709)

Eating a formerly living being does not inject its DNA into our cells.

Re:Monsanto will make up the loss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337901)

Speak for your self, my body does.

Re:Monsanto will make up the loss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337915)

They've got lobbyists working over the government to change it so that legally, it does.

Re:Monsanto will make up the loss... (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337927)

Speak for yourself! I'm Kirby, you insensitive clod!

Fuck ROUNDUP FUCK MONSANTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337743)

Hang the motherfuckers

Horrible summary (2, Informative)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338021)

the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled the company must repay royalties collected over the past decade.

What?! The linked article doesn't say anything of the sort! It says:

In April, Giovanni Conti, a judge in Rio Grande do Sul, decided that Monsanto's levy was illegal, noting that the patents relating to Roundup Ready soya beans have already expired in Brazil. He ordered Monsanto to stop collecting royalties, and return those collected since 2004 -- or pay back a minimum of US$2 billion. Monsanto appealed, and Conti's decision has been suspended for now, pending consideration by the Justice Tribune of Rio Grande do Sul.

But in 2011, Monsanto had also made a parallel legal bid to the Brazilian Supreme Court of Justice, the country's highest federal court. The company argued that the syndicates had no legal status to bring their case, and also that any final ruling should be limited to Rio Grande do Sul, fearing that its losses would be even greater if it applied to the whole country. On 12 June, the judges of the Brazilian Supreme Court of Justice ruled against Monsanto, deciding unanimously that the ruling by the Justice Tribune of Rio Grande do Sul, once it is made, should apply nationwide. Monsanto has declined to comment on the case.

What if Monsanto is less wrong? (2, Interesting)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40338045)

I generally think of Monsanto as evil. The power that Monsanto has over large portions of the global food supply frightens me. That said, the "Roundup Ready" gene is really useful to farmers. People complain about Monsanto's use of terminator seeds, patents, lawsuits, etc. only because it is so difficult to compete without using Monsanto's products. Otherwise, no would care.

Soya beans and civilization in Brazil are both older than Monsanto. The Brazilian state could have banned the import, distribution, and cultivation of GMOs - but it did not. And Brazilian farmers could have used their existing seeds, but they did not. They used the piper's awesome seeds. Given what I know about Brazilian politics and trade practices, and human nature, I suspect this case is rooted more in the desire not to pay that piper than in actual law.

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