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Monsanto Plant Patent Case Winds On

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the blowing-in-the-wind dept.

The Courts 268

srw writes "A follow-up to a slashdot story from two years ago: The Supreme Court of Canada is willing to hear the case of Percy Schmeiser -- a Saskatchewan farmer accused of violating Monsanto's IP by growing their patented canola. This article contains more background."

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IN SOVIET RUSSIA . . . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5982764)

IN SOVIET RUSSIA, we wish we read the article before posting a response.

Re:IN SOVIET RUSSIA . . . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5982795)

IN SOVIET RUSSIA THE POST FAILS YOU!!

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING INTO CMDRTACO'S ASSHOLE

Obviously a frame-up (4, Funny)

Caractacus Potts (74726) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982766)

Clearly, they planted the evidence...

Re:Obviously a frame-up (5, Funny)

infoape (31685) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982773)

perhaps there was a mole

Re:Obviously a frame-up (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982782)

Maybe a frame-up, but still a great lube!

Re:Obviously a frame-up (4, Informative)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982805)

Actually, the farmer says he never bought Mansanto seeds, the plants were growing in a ditch by the road, and that the plants contaminated the farmer's conventional canola (costing him the years crop.) If I were the farmer, I would have sued Mansanto for crop contamination.

Instead, it seems if some disgruntled seed saleman is pissed that you didn't want to buy their patented seed, he can just plant some on your property, and sue you for the cost after the fact. Now that's insane.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (2, Interesting)

poor_boi (548340) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982816)

That's not insane: that's the law! ;-)

But seriously folks, better read the "pissed off seed company's" side of the story before getting up on the soap box.

I bet that farmer couldn't wait to get his eager little sweaty palms on that "Round-up Ready" canola strain. It sounds soooo tasty.

Eat less GMO :-)

Re:Obviously a frame-up (4, Informative)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982848)

That's what makes this such a difficult case. If the court rules for Monsanto, what's to stop a seed company from genetically engineering an especially virulent form of a crop, which spreads like wildfire and eliminates all other form of that crop from the face of the planet. Soon, a few companies could control the entire world's food supply and you couldn't even have a vegetable garden in your own backyard.

On the other hand, if the court rules for the farmer, what's to stop farmers from stealing small amounts of seed from a neighbor who bought the patented crop and growing it for enough years to have a full crop and then claiming that a bird pooped the seeds on their field. This would effectively destroy IP rights of all seed companies.

Honestly, I don't know what the correct decision here would be. Either result could have disasterous implications.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982875)

The crop is designed to be unable to reproduce, so you have to keep buying seeds every year. The only "transmission" vector would be the initial seeding "blowing over." Granted, this could still happen, but it's not quite the doomsday scenario you present.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (2, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982885)

Actually, considering the world produces enough food for everyone already (it is just poorly distributed), the right thing to do is for Monsanto to sod off with their Frankenfood which requires heavy use of their own brand very poisonous pestitide RoundUp.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (5, Insightful)

PaulQuinn (171592) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982891)

Honestly, I don't know what the correct decision here would be

OMG!!! You don't know what the correct decision is?????
Let's see, choose between:

Noone being allowed to grow a garden
VS
The profits of a company

Holy shit - you must be an American. Only a born and raised money bleeding capitalist would think that is a hard decision. Geez.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (1, Insightful)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982895)

Not all capitalists are American.

Not all Americans are capitalists.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983040)

No..but the annoying and stupid ones tend to be both, hence the problem with the world today.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983311)

So, money bleeding American capitalists are the only ones who apply legal reason over purely emotional slashdot arguments?

This is a Canadian case going the the supreme court, so I think we can too.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (4, Insightful)

Chester K (145560) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982900)

This would effectively destroy IP rights of all seed companies.

Those are the risks you take when you try to patent life.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983094)

Actually, patenting life is illegal in other countries. So don't come whining.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (5, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982996)

Your point about a few companies controlling the world's food supply is very valid and should be of a great concern to all of us. There is a disturbing trend among of the companies that genetically alter seed to desire to produce grains (canola is an oilseed not a grain, but it still applies) that are sterile and do not reproduce. This could be seen as a good thing, since genetically modified plants then cannot "escape" into nature. However, as growing the GMO grains becomes more and more prevailant and traditional strains no longer grown (either because they don't produce as well, or are too tall or whatever), then that makes farmers have to pay for their seed every year, rather than hold back a portion and replant like they used to. Even more effected by this are third world countries who will be completely at the mercy of these companies. They are really worried the trends and "progression" being made by companies like Monsanto.

Just as Palladium, patents, and digital restrictions managenent do not bode well computer and software users, these types of genetic patents are no less negative. I personally have nothing against GMO food and technologies, but I think we should seriously consider the impacts of patenting and controlling such technologies.

I hope the courts rule in favor of the farmer. Until about 5-10 years ago in Canada, there were no IP rights for seed companies. Such rights are contrived and artificial, I believe.

Michael

Re:Obviously a frame-up (1, Interesting)

Miguel de Icaza (660439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983218)

from another perspective you might find Palladium, patents, and DRM are actually positive things that foster innovation and artistic expression.

its the same with IP protection of GM food. If these foods actually do improve crop yields and feed more people for less effort - then the companies that develop biotech need to get a fair reyrn for the expensive R&D they provide (or other companies won't bother to do futher work)

you slashdotters seem to think science is still being done in garages - well its not, these days it costs billions to produce something radically advanced like a GM food, blockbuster movie, or .NET - risks need rewards

sorry for the rant there
love, peace, hope, dock

miguel

Re:Obviously a frame-up (4, Insightful)

berzerke (319205) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983000)

...Either result could have disasterous implications...



Actually, only if the court decides in Monsanto's favor will it be a disaster. This isn't some inanimate matter patented, but life. And life will find a way to spread. Once released, if it doesn't die out, it will spread. Look at various insects (killer bees, fire ants, mosquitos).


Re:Obviously a frame-up (2, Insightful)

Pall Agamemnides (673074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983310)

And life will find a way to spread. Once relased, if it doesn't die out, it will spread.

Well, that's not necessarily true. Species do become extinct. But on the other hand, these genetically-engineered crops are generally designed to survive very well, with resistence to drought, pesticides, etc. So eliminating these may prove more difficult than usual.

What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

Dthoma (593797) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983028)

This is only a problem because the plant is patented. Virtually every other plant on earth is "public domain" so there's no problem about those when they grow on someone else's land. Why not just say that it's stupid and irresponsible to try to patent species of plants, not let anyone do it, and then leave the issue be? Companies will have the freedom to create these GM crops (thus placating the GM advocates) but have little incentive to do so since they will be available for free (thus placating the anti-GM campaigners).

Re:Obviously a frame-up (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983142)

On the other hand, if the court rules for the farmer, what's to stop farmers from stealing small amounts of seed from a neighbor who bought the patented crop and growing it for enough years to have a full crop and then claiming that a bird pooped the seeds on their field. This would effectively destroy IP rights of all seed companies.

My understanding of Monsanto seed is that they insert a "terminator gene" which makes any seed sterile. Hence, you cannot grow it for enough years to have a full crop. You have to buy their seed every year. Consequently, the seed is cheaper than normal...

Simple solution? (1)

Mr_Tulip (639140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982983)

The only way I can see out of the conundrum you've proposed is to grant a broad patent to "Mother Nature Inc". Perhaps granting a perpetual patent on all biological living species would be a good idea - companies would have to 'license' the use of genetic engineering by agreeing to use their innovations in an ethical and responsible manner.

Re:Simple solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983022)

watched the ring ?

Re:Obviously a frame-up (4, Informative)

darkonc (47285) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983064)

Actually, the farmer says he never bought Mansanto seeds, the plants were growing in a ditch by the road, and that the plants contaminated the farmer's conventional canola (costing him the years crop.) If I were the farmer, I would have sued Mansanto for crop contamination.

It's not quite that straight... Schmeisers story [tv.cbc.ca] (the court documents give both sides pretty completely) is that he was spraying weeds with Roundup(tm) when he noticed that some of the canola in the area (which would have normally been killed by the herbicide) had survived --Finding that to be a bit weird, he sprayed a larger area and found a large patch that seemed to be roundup-resistant.. This appeared to be pretty much the area closest to the road.

The next summer, the seeds from the quarter section that he had sprayed were used to plant at least one of his quarter sections. This is the crop that Monsanto now claims to own. Part of the problem, however, is that the genetically modified seed has also contaminated the rest of his seed. If Monsanto wins a permanent injunction against Schmeiser ever using their seeds again, he'll not only have to turn over the seeds and profits from the mostly-monsanto patch... He'll also have to turn over any seeds with any monsanto contamination -- effectively, this will mean that he will have to destroy a couple of generations worth of breeding experiments because almost all of his stock now has at least a bit of monsanto seed in it.

Monsanto's claim was originally that he arranged (barter or sale) to have a monsanto-licensed farmer give him some of their roundup-ready seed (in violation of contract). Schmeiser claimed that it had appeared on his land, and he had the right to do what he wanted to with his crop. The (lower) courts decided that it didn't matter how the seed had landed on his land.. Monsanto had a patent on the seed, and nobody not licensed by them was allowed to use seeds with those genetics.

This decision could be especially problematic for some farmers because Canola is pretty much a weed. All sorts of farmers anywhere downwind from someone using Monsanto canola is likely to have at least a small proportion of genetically contaminated seed -- they could then have Monsanto going after them, as well.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (5, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983151)

Monsanto's claim was originally that he arranged (barter or sale) to have a monsanto-licensed farmer give him some of their roundup-ready seed (in violation of contract). Schmeiser claimed that it had appeared on his land, and he had the right to do what he wanted to with his crop. The (lower) courts decided that it didn't matter how the seed had landed on his land.. Monsanto had a patent on the seed, and nobody not licensed by them was allowed to use seeds with those genetics.

Think this a little further. Think of a second company selling genetically altered canola seed to a farmer, and again some of the seed falls over to a neighbour. But this time this farmer isn't using his own seed but Monsanto's. Then you have a farmer with Monsanto seed contamined by another seed. Which decision should the court make now? Handing over the contamined seed to Monsanto (because it violates Monsanto's patents)? Or handing it over to the other company (because it violates their patents)? Or part it half-by-half and giving 50% to each company? Shall both companies now start to sue each other for violating patents?

Re:Obviously a frame-up (5, Interesting)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983210)

Here's where it gets really screwy - Monsanto is claiming ownership of a genetic sequence which, when grown in conformance with the natural lifecycle of the plant, WILL SPREAD. I don't mean in a laboratory, or an isolated test field, I mean if you throw the seed into a field, little vectors of genetic contaimination (pollen) will spread. You can't get a pure-bred version of the crop, because the plant evidently is sterile in certain situations, but given that the farmer is being charged with having seeds that are partially bred from Monsanto property, it means that the plants can pass on their genetic material to a certain extent.

So, am I supposed to now make sure your IP doesn't find itself into my materials? How? Am I supposed to test the genetic sequences of ALL the plants that I have? This isn't a case where I'm going out and collecting YOUR IP in order to grow new plants - this is a case where your IP is contaminating my plants as a normal course of operation.

For example, this would be like a company which writes a computer program, that during the normal course of operations, spawns a virus that infects other programs on your hard drive. One of the programs that it infects is your compiler. Can this company now sue to get revenues for the programs you write and distribute that are compiled with this infected compiler? After all, this infected compiler now incorporates their IP...

Re:Obviously a frame-up (3, Informative)

El Christador (302969) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983267)

>Instead, it seems if some disgruntled seed
>saleman is pissed that you didn't want to buy
>their patented seed, he can just plant some on
>your property, and sue you for the cost after >the fact. Now that's insane.

It would be if the case you describe were judged to constitute patent infringement, but the Federal Court of Appeal has already ruled in this case that involuntary contamination does not constitute patent infringement. There is only patent infringement if the seeds were put there by the person accused of the infringement, and if that person had knowledge that the seeds were glyphosate resistant. See paragraphs 55-58 of the Federal Court of Appeal's
ruling [fct-cf.gc.ca] :

[55] Counsel for Mr. Schmeiser submitted that a finding for Monsanto in this case would be highly prejudicial to any farmer who does not wish to grow Roundup Ready Canola. That is because glyphosate resistant canola can appear in a field without having been planted there, but a farmer cannot detect it without spraying Roundup, thereby killing any conventional canola in the field.

[56] There is considerable force to the argument that it would be unfair to grant Monsanto a remedy for infringement where volunteer Roundup Ready Canola grows in a farmer's field but its resistance to glyphosate remains unknown, or if that characteristic becomes apparent but the seeds of the volunteer plants are not retained for cultivation. It is often said that intention is not material to a finding of infringement: H. Fox, The Canadian Law and Practice relating to Letters Patent for Inventions, 4th ed. (1969), at page 381; Computalog Ltd. v. Comtech Logging Ltd. (1992), 44 C.P.R. (3d) 77 (F.C.A.). That principle was developed in the context of patents for conventional inventions: see, for example, Stead v. Anderson (1847), 2 W.P.C. 156, Wright v. Hitchcock (1870), L.R. 5 Ex. 37, Young v. Rosenthal (1884), 1 R.P.C. 29 (Q.B.), Skelding v. Daly et al. (1941), 1 C.P.R. 266 (B.C.C.A.). Clearly, in most cases of patent infringement, to allow a defence of ignorance or lack of intention to infringe would destroy the efficacy of the patent, because the actual content of any particular patent is known to very few people.

[57] However, it seems to me arguable that the patented Monsanto gene falls into a novel category. It is a patented invention found within a living plant that may, without human intervention, produce progeny containing the same invention. It is undisputed that a plant containing the Monsanto gene may come fortuitously onto the property of a person who has no reason to be aware of the presence of the characteristic created by the patented gene. It is also reasonable to suppose that the person could become aware that the plant has that characteristic but may tolerate the continued presence of the plant without doing anything to cause or promote the propagation of the plant or its progeny (by saving and planting the seeds, for example). In my view, it is an open question whether Monsanto could, in such circumstances, obtain a remedy for infringement on the basis that the intention of the alleged infringer is irrelevant. However, that question does not need to be resolved in this case.

[58] In this case, Mr. Schmeiser cultivated glyphosate resistant canola plants. His 1998 canola crop was mostly glyphosate resistant, and it came from seed that Mr. Schmeiser had saved from his own fields and the adjacent road allowances in 1997. Although the Trial Judge did not find that Mr. Schmeiser played any part initially in causing those glyphosate resistant canola plants to grow in 1997, the Trial Judge found as a fact, on the basis of ample evidence, that Mr. Schmeiser knew or should have known that those plants were glyphosate resistant when he saved their seeds in 1997 and planted those seeds the following year. It was the cultivation, harvest and sale of the 1998 crop in those circumstances that made Mr. Schmeiser vulnerable to Monsanto's infringement claim.

Re:Obviously a frame-up (2, Funny)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982860)

Your post gives me the seeds of an idea; maybe I should squirrel away a little something in case I'm ever visited by the IP police....

First Post. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5982772)

First Post.

Planting the evidence... (2, Funny)

poor_boi (548340) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982775)

I'm going to move my DirecTV dish on to my neighbor's roof so he has to pay the bill. No GMO! No GMO! err... what did I just eat?

the problem? (1, Interesting)

dirvish (574948) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982776)

If she wan't selling the granola, what is the problem?

Re:the problem? (1)

poor_boi (548340) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982834)

If she wan't selling the granola, what is the problem?

Don't you mean "If he wan't selling the canola, what is the problem?"

Readin da post...dun-dun-dah..

I owe my life to Monsanto (3, Funny)

yanestra (526590) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982797)

Probably they have patentet me, and I'm their property?

Random mutation could have made my genes change in a way that Monsanto's later efforts are anticipated. So I am possibly Monsanto's property, some time in the future. Or, I would have to prove that my genes are older, so it would be prior art.

Guinea Pig (3, Funny)

MBCook (132727) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982810)

Lyrics from a Moxy Fruvous song called "Guinea Pig". I'm not against geneticaly enginered food, but it just seemed apropriate.
dont ya tell me what youre putting in my lunch box dont
tell me what your feeding me today,
dont fill my head with trouble while im scarfin' down a cheese soufle

I wanna be a new, original creation
a cross between a moose a monkey and a fig
I'm ready Monsanto let me be your guina pig

cuz the seed we sew aint good enough
the earth we plow it aint good enough
the food we grow well its never been up to scratch,

the geezer with the beard and all the angels
made a few mistakes I dont know why
we dont need him anymore if geneticly modefy

so dont ya tell me what youre puttin in my lunch box
I got a crazy pioneering additude
dont bother me with labels gotta get a belly full of franken-food

gotta geta belly fulla franken-food

Re:Guinea Pig (3, Funny)

sunaj (655412) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982839)

I can see the headlines now:

"Slashdot sued for publishing copyrighted lyrics on its web site"

You just broke the law. (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983141)

You shouldn't post copyrighted material without express written consent.

I love the world we live in. Mooching every last cent possible from the almighty consumer.

good job, people (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5982813)

I wish the public could nail Monsanto to the wall for producing this horribly altered crop seed, then spreading it maliciously throughout the country. Other farmers have been afflicted with cross-pollinated GMO crap too, rendering crops unsaleable to the EU, for example.
I hope Monsanto loses this case badly, even if the farmer himself is a dick for growing the sh*t purposefully.

Re:good job, people (5, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982916)

It's common practice in farming to retain seed from each crop to plant in the next year. What Monsanto is effectively doing is denying the farmer the right to carry on a traditional practice. The only thing the farmer is doing purposefully, apparently, is growing from the seed harvested on his own land. That traditional practice needs to be fully protected in law.

And Monsanto is showing absolute and utter ignorance when it claims there is no way for their seed to have escaped in any way. While I can't say whether this farmer "expedited" any cross pollination or cross seeding, I do know from knowing people who have worked on farms in the rural area I grew up in, that such a thing was common. It varied depending on the type of crop. Some crop types could spread their genetics far more easily than others. I do know corn was one of those that was a problem in that area. But it wasn't a big problem in the sense that anyone might get sued because their field got infested from a neighbor's crop. They were more worried that their field might have a mix of different kinds of corn.

Re:good job, people (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983324)

"Other farmers have been afflicted with cross-pollinated GMO crap too, rendering crops unsaleable to the EU, for example."

Europe passes a ban on selling genetically-modified food (something the US may soon be taken up with the WTO), and it's Monsanto's fault?

I've heard of fuzzy logic, but come on!

Witch dunking (5, Interesting)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982824)

Interesting how they test for the plant - spray the crop and if it dies you're innocent.

So, logically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983136)

If the plants weighs the same as a duck, it's made of wood!

And patents help who? (2, Interesting)

argoff (142580) | more than 10 years ago | (#5982837)

This is a classic micocausim of why all patents are bad in general, and why arguments like the "inventor has no inventive" ... and arguments like nobody "would invest in such and such research" and "no pharmacutical would spend R&D for cures" without a patent, are bullshit. (excuse the language, but I'm tired of being spoonfeed this garbage) People just assume it's true without even thinking about the range of consequences patents cause, and then try and ram them down everyones throat.

Re:And patents help who? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983156)

Your post is a classic example of why /. needs a spellchecker.

It's not bullshit that we wouldn't have this research done without commercial incentive, and patents are there to create commercial incentive. It simply costs a lot of money to do this stuff, and if you aren't motivated by capitalism, you have to have it be government-funded, and then you end up with socialism.

Patents are not free market (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983242)

It's not bullshit that we wouldn't have this research done without commercial incentive, and patents are there to create commercial incentive. It simply costs a lot of money to do this stuff, and if you aren't motivated by capitalism, you have to have it be government-funded, and then you end up with socialism.

Arrgh!, this is exactly the kind of nonsense I'm talking about. Patents are not free market any more than any other artificial government imposed monopoly. Is it free market if the government gives some company a monopoly on making cars? Maybe (insert big3 auto maker here) does not have an incentive to make (insert great feature here) unless the government marches in the troops to shut down all the competition. So what! It's plainly stupid and so are patents.

Go Europe! (5, Insightful)

PaulQuinn (171592) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982873)

Thank god the EU has some humanity and dignity left. I praise their stance on GM foods which is basically denying them completely, even wilfully paying fines brought by the WTO to not allow GM food trade.

Why would any nation allow, let alone a single farmer choose to use patented seeds under these restrictions? I'll answer my own question - GREED.

I hope Monsanto looses this one in a big, utterly devastating, way.

Re:Go Europe! (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982925)

Same here!

If they really wanted to improve crops they would make them require less pesticide and have less requirements.

The EU and the US already produce more food than they need and the EU trashes excess crops every year.
We do not need extra production of this lousy food which rips off farmers by forcing them to continuously buy new seeds and pesticide from Monsanto.

This is no advancement for humanity, just more money for the pockets of Monsanto.

Re:Go Europe! (3, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983246)

I've been following this case for a long time, because it also ties into various huge land grab schemes going on, along with creating global monopolies. Just to clarify on round up ready canola (rapeseed), the plants have been engineered to NOT die from the herbicide, roundup. That means the farmer can just spray big quantities of roundup all over everything, kill his "weeds" and it allegedly doesn't matter than.

Technically, it works, practically speaking, why someone ever thought spraying chemical poisons on FOOD is just amazing to me. We got this "war on terror" because "el bad queda someone" might have WMD, one of which is "nerve gas". Well, duh, a lot of the chemicals they use are so similar it don't matter, we got "terrorist attacks" daily, all over, the food supply got contaminated a long time ago.

I love farming, grew up working on farms, wish to retire to farming, but NO WAY do I use sprays. Just... ain't.. gonna.

The bad part about GM is--it's an unknown. We have NO idea what it will cause to human health down the road, they are throwing guesses at it being passed off as "research". sorry, there hasn't been several generations of human research, there simply hasn't been the time to really test it, and I volunteer the company employees, managers and stock holders as the "volunteer" testers, two generations, minimum.

this stuff, with zero doubt, will lead to monopolies, with AIR BORNE pollen, it will become impossible to save your own seed if anyone close by is growing that stuff. that's one of the major factors in this case, that it spreads and infects, and the proof is all over canada now, the stuff HAS spread all over and is pretty hard to get rid of. It was a BAD IDEA. We've already got it infected into most of the commercial corn crop as well, with "starlink" corn, that was a "whoops". I am CONVINCED that these companies will contiue to do accidental "whoopsies" until only their stuff can be grown. They'll just eat the toy fines they get (which to date have been there but joke sized)and keep saying they are sorry as they giggle their way to planet wide food control. It's not a joke.

Re:Go Europe! (3, Informative)

villoks (27306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983027)

Well,

EU does not have so clean hands after all. The European Directive 98/44/EC on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions [eu.int] is rather horrible and the majority of member states have actually refused to transpose [plooij.nl] it. Unfortunately the new member states from Central/Eastern Europe won't have the same luxury because they have to accept everything without furher conditions (with certain very limited exceptions). It's not going to be a good time to be a farmer in Poland or Hungary, I believe..

V.

Go Brazil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983202)

Reuters
Brazil militants invade Monsanto biotech test farm
Friday May 16, 6:31 pm ET
By Inae Riveras

SAO PAULO, Brazil, May 16 (Reuters) - Militants of the Landless Peasant Movement (MST) in Brazil invaded a Monsanto Co.(NYSE:MON - News) test farm on Friday in a bid "to expel" the U.S. biotech giant and set up an organic farm on the site.

ADVERTISEMENT
The incursion by some 80 members from the MST and other landless groups onto an experimental farm in Ponta Grosso, Parana was aimed at stopping Monsanto from using farming methods unpopular in the state, according to the group.

"The government of Parana says it doesn't want transgenics and we producers don't want it," said MST leader Celio Rodrigues. "Thus, it is not right for it (Monsanto) to have a technical center here."

Parana is a large farm state in southern Brazil where Monsanto tests conventional and genetically modified corn and soybeans.

Rodrigues said the objective of the occupation was "to expel" Monsanto from the state and convert the 43 hectares (106 acre) farm to organic production.

The commercial planting of GM crops in Brazil has been banned since 1998. But a thriving black market in Monsanto's trademark Roundup Ready GM soy has developed in southern Brazil. The GM beans are thought to be smuggled in Argentina and Paraguay were RR soy is widely planted.

As much as 30 percent of Brazil's total soy output was estimated to be illegal GM, according to the seed producers association Abrasem, and illegal planting in the south, where the climate is favorable to the Argentine and Paraguayan varieties, is much more wide spread than in other regions.

Monsanto said it has always condemned the illegal planting of GM soy in Brazil.

Experimental GM planting, however, is legal and much of the company's research is conducted jointly with the government crop research arm Embrapa. Monsanto said test planting on its farms was in accordance with Brazilian law.

Monsanto is one of Brazil's biggest producers and sellers of conventional soy, corn and other crop seed stock, as well as farm chemicals and fertilizers.

"They can go back to the United States, Argentina or Canada, where transgenics are liberated," said Rodrigues.

The Ponta Grossa farm was invaded on May 9 by 800 militants who destroyed some laboratories and burned down corn fields.

Monsanto said it has asked authorities to prosecute those responsible for "acts of violence against its staff, property and research and development in Brazil."

"We have big assets of biodiversity in Parana and Monsanto represents a threat," said Antonio Volochen from the Forum of Rural Workers in Parana, that participated in the occupation.

Re:Go Europe! (1)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983214)

hank god the EU has some humanity and dignity left. I praise their stance on GM foods which is basically denying them completely

And not surprisingly, a major export of the EU is *scientists*. What scientist in his or her right mind would want to work in a such a luddite environment? It amazes me that the Slashdot crowd, which is presumably in favor of technological advances in computer technology, would not be in favor of advances in other fields.

too bad (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983224)

europeans are fags.

Re:too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983240)

up yours, asshole!

Another, perhaps even more worrysome case.. (5, Informative)

villoks (27306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982877)

Hi,

This is not the only case going on right now - check this one out:
[knoxnews.com]
Farmer sent to prison over cotton seed

I'm personally not against GM-plants because they can help reducing the enviromental load, but this kind stories are very scary. A typical farmer has similar chances as a snowball in hell in to win a case against a Megacorp like Monsanto...

V.

Re:Another, perhaps even more worrysome case.. (3, Informative)

Phork (74706) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983290)

what exactly do you mean by "reduce the enviromental load"? The seeds in question are ones which monsanto calls "roundUp ready," which means they have had a gene inserted to make them immune to the pesticide roundup, which is made by monsanto's former chemical division(which has since been spun off as a seperate company). These plants do not fufil any of the pormises that monsanto and other make about GMO crops, they dont have higher yields, they aren't drought resistant, and they arent healthier. All they do is allow moroe of a chemical that has bee nshown to be harmfull to humans to be sprayed onto our food.

Futurama said it best . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982878)

Address all complaints to the Monsanto Corporation.

intentional or accidental? (4, Insightful)

sssmashy (612587) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982884)

Monsanto said canola plants grown from its genetically altered seed had grown along a ditch on the Schmeiser farm in violation of the company's patent. Schmeiser contends the GM seed blew off a truck or came from someone else's field but Monsanto argued that's impossible. Schmeiser said he never bought Monsanto seed.

(...) At issue are the patent rights to Roundup Ready canola, a genetically modified strain resistant to a herbicide that would normally kill the plants used to produce cooking oil.

Beyond the obvious issue of whether genetically altered plants should be patentable, there is also a simpler, common sense issue at stake: who was responsible for the contamination?

If the seed blew in accidentally, contaminating the farmer's own breed of canola, there is no reason the farmer should be held responsible. Otherwise, what would stop an unscrupulous patent-holder from "accidentally" spreading their patented product all over the area, and then demanding compensation from the unsuspecting farmers?

There's one simple way to test whether the seeding was intentional: did the farmer use herbicides on his crops? If the answer is yes, he clearly knew that Monsanto's herbicide-resistant plants were growing in his field. If the answer is no, he got no economic benefit from growing Monsanto's plants and should be left alone.

Re:intentional or accidental? (1)

NetDanzr (619387) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983029)

From the Web site dedicated to the farmer:

In his defense, Schmeiser showed his own farm-based evidence that the fields ranged from nearly zero to 68% Roundup Ready. These tests were confirmed by independent tests performed by research scientists at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, MB.

It makes no sense to plant only a part of crops of a certain variety, and I think this makes a very strong argument in his favor. Actually, the court didn't dispute it. The ruling stated that "the judge agreed a farmer can generally own the seeds or plants grown on his land if they blow in or are carried there by pollen -- but the judge says this is not true in the case of genetically modified seed." And I think it's this part that makes this particular case so nasty...

The problem with a plant patent (5, Funny)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982888)

You grow a plant in a field... plant grows...

Plants produce seeds, which get carried off by

1. Wind
2. Animals
3. Vehicels

then reproduce into other plants.

The answer is obvious

Sue the
Wind for illegal distrubution of IP
The animals for illegal distrubution of IP
The vehicel manufactor for creating a safe harbor for the distrubution of IP
Sue the plants them selves for reproducing without a license.

Re:The problem with a plant patent (1)

yanestra (526590) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983024)

The main problem might be, that if that plant is injurious to your health (which may come out in many years), at a later time, all plants of that species might be, because they have interbred, and it's a giant advantage to be resistent against some kinds of poison.

Re:The problem with a plant patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983036)

Sue slashdot for exposing me to the word 'Vehicels'.

Re:The problem with a plant patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983143)

Don't forget distrubution.

But, yeah, vehicels is pretty horrible...It's actually really offensive.

I could forgive it if English isn't his first language. But, since /. is an American website, the default assumption must be that English is his first language.

Re:The problem with a plant patent (1)

blerg (185696) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983131)

The only problem with your arguement is probably this bit:

then reproduce into other plants.

As far as I'm aware most genetically engineered plantlife is purposely made sterile. It won't create seeds that will then grow into new plants.

By doing this they can ensure a farmer will return to them year after year for new grain rather than just buying it one year and cultivating all subsequent crops from that first batch. It's just not good business sense. On top of which, as people have said/insinuated in other posts, what would be stopping *everyone* from then getting their hands on the offspring and using it for their own crops? Pantents? Not if everyone is using it and saying "just blew in on the wind, honest!"

Monsanto = Scumbags (4, Informative)

gestapo4you (590974) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982903)

rBGH, Fox News and Monsanto: "Milk it does Monsanto good." fired journalist [indymedia.org]

"They could not understand what was happening and told David Boylan,
a Murdoch manager sent by Fox to Florida, that a valid, well-sourced
news story was being stifled. Boylan's reply broke with all the traditions
of the Murdoch empire.
In a moment of insane candour, he told an unvarnished truth which should
be framed and stuck on the top of every television set.
"We paid $3 billion for these television stations," he snapped.
"We'll decide what the news is. NEWS IS WHAT WE SAY IT IS."

Re:Monsanto = Scumbags (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983154)

Nothing new there. People like to pretend that Fox invented slanted reporting.

"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have."
-- Richard Salant, President of CBS News forty years ago

"We are going to impose our agenda on the coverage by dealing with issues and subjects that we choose to deal with".
-- Richard M. Cohen, former Senior Producer of CBS political news

Re:Monsanto = Scumbags (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983178)

And just in case the above quotes are too oldy moldy for anyone's taste, here's one more, more recent:

"While Dan Rather attempts to rationalize the network's heartless decision to air this despicable 'terrorist propaganda video,' it is beyond our comprehension that any mother, wife, father or sister should have to relive this horrific tragedy and watch their loved one being repeatedly terrorized," the family said.
"Terrorists have made this video confident that the American media would broadcast it and thereby serve their exact purpose. By showing this video, CBS or any other broadcaster willing to show it proves that they fall without shame into the terrorists' plan."
-- Mariane Pearl, May 15, 2002

Cool, a new business plan unfolds! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982907)

Slightly OT -

1. write and patent virus
2. secretly unleash it on world
3. sue owners of infected systems
4. Profit!

Potato: Patent Pending? (3, Informative)

airherbe (638417) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982922)

I recently read a book that discussed agri-genetic engineering, specifically potatoes, and Monsanto's extreme measures to enforce their IP protection on these genetically engineered products. The author bought, grew, and studied some of these specially engineered plants.

The book combines a history of the plant with a prime example of how biotechnology is changing our relationship to nature. As part of his research, Pollan visited the Monsanto company headquarters and planted some of their NewLeaf-brand potatoes in his garden--seeds that had been genetically engineered to produce their own insecticide. Though they worked as advertised, he made some startling discoveries, primarily that the NewLeaf plants themselves are registered as a pesticide by the EPA, and that federal law prohibits anyone from reaping more than one crop per seed packet. And in a interesting aside, he explains how a global desire for consistently perfect French fries contributes to both damaging monoculture and the genetic engineering necessary to support it. There are many parallels with genetic engineering of plants, and the irresponsible proliferation of antibiotics (and the diseases that become increasingly immune to them).

If interested: The book is called Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan. The book discusses four or five influential plants that have 1) shaped our history of humans and 2) that we have significantly altered theirs. I believe the plants are: potatoes, tulips, apples, and [interestingly enough] marijuana.

-J. R. Rogivue

Come on Bush fight the real terrorists at hand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982936)

Ha! If Monsanto want's to be responsible for hell on earth, they know what they're doing and have it coming. Let's crank up the heating.

CBC links (4, Informative)

darkonc (47285) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982949)

The CBC [www.cbc.ca] also has a link to the Schmeiser/Monsanto story [www.cbc.ca] it includes all sorts of backgrounder links [tv.cbc.ca] including the full court documents from (at least) the original court case. It tells the story pretty completely from both sides, if you're willing to read the affidavits.

technology good, patents bad . (3, Insightful)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982955)

You're fighting two camps here, the luddite camp that wants to fight genetically engineered foods, and the IP people, who want to fight logic.

Fire morally neutral (1)

Exatron (124633) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983100)

Obligatory Simpsons quote.

Re:technology good, patents bad . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983177)

" You're fighting two camps here, the luddite camp that wants to fight genetically engineered foods, and the IP people, who want to fight logic."

Not Luddite. Informed opposition. The EU is right. We've gotten ourselves into a bind where the bulk of the world is reliant on just one or two strains of each of the cereals and major vegetables.

Can you say "potato famine"? I thought you could. We are now in a position where just one or two plant diseases could wipe the bulk of humanity out.

There are NOT adequate safeguards to keep this (brown smelly substance) out of the human food supply and even more importantly, away from non-modified crops.

That's the rub ... Monsanto is suing this guy because THEIR frankenfood mated with HIS cash crop. THEY owe HIM ... big time.

Re:technology good, patents bad . (1)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983203)

Well at least the "luddite" camp makes some sense some of the time. But I say throw more technology at it. Design better pesticides! And if the bulk of humanity is wiped out...uh, isn't overpopulation the biggest problem anyway?

Finally~! (1)

Sophrosyne (630428) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982971)

I included some info on percy in an essay I wrote- and all I have to say is finally.
I feel nothing but sympathy for him, Monsanto is a slimy company-- It'd be nice to see people move to organically grown foods to put this behemoth out of business.

Re:Finally~! (2, Interesting)

ehushagen (658426) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983254)

Sympathy? For Percy Schmeiser?

I used to live in the same area of Saskatchewan as this man, and let me tell you this, there aren't too many people that actually know the guy who are feeling *any* sympathy for him. He's a snake-oil salesman and a get-rich-quick bum. All his life he's done nothing at all productive, and now suddenly he's put on the "poor, overworked, underpaid, threatened-by-the-man farmer" act? Pfft. May he get what's coming to him.

I also realize there is a good chance this will secure me some bad karma, but I'm honestly not trolling :|

Why isn't this a slam dunk case? (0, Troll)

PaulQuinn (171592) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982980)

...for the farmer!?

If the farmer didn't buy Monsanto seed, why should he suffer from the natural consequences of wind, pollen, and chaos? In fact, why couldn't the farmer sue Monsanto for damages brought about by Monsanto (including this current lawsuit)?

And if this a case about accidental/natural seed contamination, why isn't every farmer on the planet trying to bring down Monsanto?

Monsanto and their ilk are a plague (4, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982993)

I'm sorry, but I'm sick to death of biotech companies experimenting on us with GM foods, etc for no better reason than profit.

They'll willingly gamble with all of our lives, betting the pot that their crops are safe to us and the environment yet they'll be the first to walk away and just shrug their shoulders if something goes wrong.

I recently watched a programme about how Novartis was screwing Korean leukemia sufferers over the cost of their Glivec/Gleevec drug treatment. The very patients that were part of the company's clinical trials are now being fleeced by the company, blackmailed into paying tens of thousands of US dollars a year for a drug that they themselves helped bring to the market! This for a drug that costs pennies to mass produce.

In fact, the whole Glivec issue is such a big deal in Korea (ask any Korean that you know) that although it's a life-saving drug, the name Glivec is now synonymous with death - that's how much Novartis's greed has pissed off an entire nation.

(For more, check out this Google search: novartis glivec korea [google.com] .

These assholes seriously piss me off. Profits are one thing, but profits before people isn't just immoral and unethical, it's disgusting.

Re:Monsanto and their ilk are a plague (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983041)

god i can just can not stand completely uninformed people like you, who only seek out "facts" that support their own position

Re:Monsanto and their ilk are a plague (1)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983229)

Why don't you check out the facts? The fucking URL of the Google search is just there for you to click on.

woah there... (1)

Unordained (262962) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983113)

First off, this isn't to defend companies like Monsato. However ... when you complain that they're "experimenting on us with GM foods" you're implying that in nature, things never change, and are always safe. You do realize, right, that -many- plants we eat are partially poisonous? Random mutations, which we assume happen all the time, could just as easily start a new strain of human-killing wheat, without the help of Monsato. We don't know, for sure, what's growing in those crops -- one little plant could be sitting there "plotting" the demise of the world, without anyone knowing about it, even -without- GM plants and companies. Solutions:
a) force farmers to eat some of every plant on their grounds, before selling any of it. (not effective at all.)
b) scan crops to make sure every last plant has the same DNA as a known-good plant (md5 hash, anyone?) before allowing the crop to be used. (again, not effective.)

In conclusion, nature could "decide" to kill us at any time, without our help. Yes, Monsato et al. should test their crops in a controlled environment (closed, sealed, and locked) before releasing them into full-blown fields for harvesting ... but we're still at risk, regardless.

LOL, good joke (2, Insightful)

dh003i (203189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983220)

LOL, that's one of the funniest things I've read on /...that is, if you're joking.

If not, then you obviously have a pretty sorry understanding of evolution and mutation. Plants are harvested en-mass. That means thousands or millions of them at once. The probability of such a mutatation as you describe occuring in one plant infinitesimally small. The probability of that same mutation occuring in enough plants in a harvest to have any significant effect is essentially zero. Also, for plants that are being maintained in huge numbers by humans, the forces of natural selection act quite interestingly. Namely, those plants which exhibit phenotypes that make us plant more of them will be selected for. (hence, the ensured survival of marijuanna plants as long as humans are around).

Re:woah there... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983223)

Random mutations, which we assume happen all the time, could just as easily start a new strain of human-killing wheat, without the help of Monsato.

There is just one difference: While it is true that mutations and interbrew could generate potentially poisonous plants, they are not the only plants. But genetically altered seeds are mostly used in monoculture, on many fields at the same time. So instead of a small number of plants growing locally and maybe killing a dozen people because of their poison, you have thousands of acres with poisonous plants being transported everywhere and sold in the stores across the whole country.

The problem mit genetically altered food is not the general danger that comes from unexpected effects of the change. It is the large scale at which those changes affect us. Basicly those tests required by the reglements are nothing else than a shortened version of the natural distribution. First a closed biotope, then a small region, then a country... And at every stage you have to check for the dangers occuring.

What I'm Gonna Do... (2, Funny)

MisterMook (634297) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983038)

I bet if I patent my unique and viable sperm then I can finally enter into contract agreements for use with my spouse....

The other side of the story? (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983083)

All we've heard is that the GE plants were growing in a ditch & they contaminated his crops. Here are the court decisions [fct-cf.gc.ca] . My basic understanding is that they're arguing about different things... so yes Monsanto should keep it's IP rights (whether this is a good thing or not is a different discussion) and yes, farmers shouldn't have to suffer from contaminated crops.

Monsanto failed to protect IP (0, Troll)

PaulQuinn (171592) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983084)

Monsanto (and any 14+ IQ surface dwelling organism) would know that wind blows seed. Thus seeds move in wind, thus wind moves seed. Seed+Wind == Wind+Seed == Seed laden wind == Repositioned seed.

Knowing this ahead of time, probably even before they invented their Roundup surviving freak-seed, Monsanto should have known that in order to protect their IP, they would have to stop the afformention equation. To do so would mean any Monsanto seed buying farmer must build a biodome around their entire field. This way, no cross-pollination could occur.

And since these biodomes were never installed, nay, never even suggested! Monsanto is proven entirely neglegent in protecting their IP, thus the patent is invalid.

QED.

This is what you get when you support Capitalism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983086)

how is it that almost everyone here stands around and spits on anyone who says bad things about capitalism, yet look at the whole world, its fucked. Monsanto, RIAA, MPAA, Microsoft, Haliburton.....we need a new system people.

Re:This is what you get when you support Capitalis (1)

PaddyM (45763) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983244)

It's not capitalism. It's infantile-capitalism.

reminds me of The Young Ones (1)

myster0n (216276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983101)

NEIL : We sow the seed... nature grows the seed... we eat the seed... and then! We sow the seed... nature grows the seed... we eat the seed... and then! We. Sow the seed!
(btw:was this ever shown in the US?)

Re:reminds me of The Young Ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983327)

Yes, on BBC America. So happy about that too. I moved from Ireland to Canada, switched on the TV one night, and felt all warm and fuzzy when Rick killed Neil with the shovel... :-)

A new way to make money... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983107)

1- Genetically engineer a highly contagious but harmless virus.
2- Let it spread.
3- Sue everyone who is infected because they are illegally copying and distributing your (patented) work. And optionally sell a cure at an extremely high price, since it's not a life-threatening situation.

Canola by any other name (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983128)

Even if they choose to call it canola, the farmer is still getting raped.

Monsanto Is To Microsoft... (4, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983183)

What the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is to Moe's Bar.

Both are corrupt in their own way, but the scope of the potential damage, the feasibility of remedying the problem, and the immorality (if any) of Microsoft pales in comparison to Monsteranto. The latter has been on so many people's hit lists for years before Microsoft even existed, and for many good reasons. Just google around, you'll see what I'm talking about. This is by no means the first case where they've tried to pull something like this. If there's ever a "new American revolution" Monsanto should be the first corporation to lose its charter. Boston corn party, anyone?

On Monsanto: (5, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983190)

Copied from e2, (idea) by vectormane, without permission. I hope he doesn't mind. I didn't want to link to e2 because it can't handle the load.

Among the multitude of products and technologies invented and/or sold by Monsanto, or a company that later became a part of Monsanto:
  • "Control of Plant Gene Expression"

    The 'terminator seed' was jointly developed by the USDA and the Delta and Pine Land Company in 1998. It is a process in which a plant is genetically engineered to produce sterile seeds. Delta and Pine announced this technology in March of 1998. Monsanto bought them out in May.

  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (Aroclor, Pyroclor)

    Most of the PCBs in the United States were manufactured by Monsanto until they were banned in 1976. PCBs are nonflammable and do not conduct electricity. They are linked to cancer, birth defects, and other negative health effects.

  • rBGH Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

    A genetically engineered hormone that makes dairy cows produce more milk. It also shortens the cows' lives, can lead to udder infection (which must be treated with antibiotics). BGH-treated cows' milk contains elevated levels of the hormone IGF-1, which is believed to be linked to increased cancer risk in humans. rBGH is banned in Canada.

  • Agent Orange 2,4,5-T

    The herbicide used in Vietnam to destroy the foliage cover that the Viet Cong hid under. Often times Agent Orange was contaminated with 2,3,7,8-TCDD Dioxin). The TCDD is linked to cancers and birth defects. It is banned in the United States.

In other words, Monsanto is criminal, arguably evil, certainly negligent, and generally a bunch of right bastards. GM foods FUD notwithstanding, these guys are bad people.

Re:On Monsanto: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983228)

The most frightening is the production of sterile seeds. It is so evil as to be beyond the pale.

European boycott of US crops (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983237)

Meanwhile, the EU has banned GM crops, in part due to health concerns, but also due to fears that their crops might be contaminated by crops with IP restrictions, which would lead to farmers being sued by seed companies. It looks like this is going to contribute significantly to a US trade deficit in the near future and a major loss of revenue for the US agricultural industry, as well as companies like Monsanto.

Intellectual Property: the best way to use lawsuits to drive yourself out of business.

(My new job is teaching me all sorts of things. You learn a lot if you have a commute by car on which to listen to NPR)

Who's Monsanto? Who is telling the truth? (1)

dan.hunt (613949) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983280)

"Schmeiser barely had heard of Monsanto before 1998,". What? A 72 year old farmer? He said that?

Let me translate that from "Saskatchewan-farm-boy" language into "/." for you: "Before last year, I had barely had heard of Microsoft" or "You mean there is another operating system other than GNU/Linux? Microsoft? Really?"

I doubt that the seeds fell of a truck and grew in the ditch, and I doubt that anyone in 1998 did not know all about Monsanto. You see, you could not open a newspaper, or turn on a radio, or drive into a city without learning all about Monsanto.

A quick Google,
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr= &ie=UTF-8 &selm=ddfr-3E428B.11550004042002%40sea-read.news.v erio.net

Re:Who's Monsanto? Who is telling the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5983296)

Just what are you, some kind of farm-boi faggot?

Next Up (2, Funny)

kanelephant (142254) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983293)

Writer of I love you virus sues for copyright infringement.

"People just kept distributing copies of my IP" the author claimed earlier today.

The bottom line is this... (3, Interesting)

confused philosopher (666299) | more than 11 years ago | (#5983306)

Obviously Monsanto is at fault here. They are honestly trying to argue that seeds can be controlled by humans. Heck, humans can't even control the seeds in their own loins, much less ones growing wild in the wind and water.

Monsanto can't prove that they didn't contaminate his field, and they are shaking in their large, multi-billion dollar boots because a farmer from Saskatchewan is about to bring part of them down.
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