Farmers Win Major Protection Against Monsanto GMO Infringement Lawsuits


Jim Gerritsen, a Maine farmer and the president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, announced in a public letter today that American farmers have secured a major victory in the battle against behemoth Monsanto.

…the Court ordered Monsanto…to NOT sue farmers for patent infringement should they encounter trace GE contamination. The estoppel protects EVERY farmer in the United States – not just those in our Plaintiff group.
So American farmers for the first time in history have gained a new critical legal protection. As a result, farmers now may choose to sue Monsanto to recover damages in a contamination incident without the fear of being inflicted with a counter suit asserting patent infringement.

It is wonderful news. The policy of Monsanto suing farmers for patent infringement because Monsanto’s own GMO contaminated their seeds has struck me as incredibly evil and an egregious example of America, Inc. using its bulk and wealth to destroy farmers. It knows IT is actual the liable party here, since it is their frankenseeds that have infected others’ seeds. It used its bulk to intimidate farmers from filing suit, as farmers know they cannot afford to do legal battle by themselves against a giant like Monsanto — a giant, by the way, backstopped by the Feds.Like the Nestle CEO who does not think access to clean water is a human right and thus wants private industry to own it all, we know Monsanto’s end game is to own rights to all seeds for edible plants.

Even as our sane European peers have banned GMOs, the American government position has been to promote GM practices around the world and seems not to miss an opportunity to advance Monsanto’s quest for control of food. Surely Monsanto has an overly represented voice in government

This is a topic that has legs on edges of both sides of the aisle. I continue to believe populism against the corporate machine is one of the areas that only wins potential voters. Indeed, Mr. Gerritsen notes:

In Maine, we built a successful coalition of Tea Party Republicans and Democrats to pass our GMO label bill. A statewide poll showed 91% of Mainers favored passing a GMO label law. Out of our legislative body of 186 members, we had 123 co-sponsors to our bill. In the end the Maine House voted for passage 141-4 and the Maine Senate 35-0. Our Tea Party Governor Paul LePage has promised he will sign the bill into law when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

As much as we reject the culture and views of much of what the Tea Parties stand for, I believe there is a strong resonance when the focus is on big corporate bullying of the little guy. I am not sure people on the right can be moved by railing against GMOs because of their rejection of science and maybe reflexive impulse to believe that is too much the realm of “environmental wackos” (maybe they just love themselves some Fritos), but protecting the little guy, yeah, that resonates. That can be leveraged and should.In the end, whether it is the MIC, Big Finance, Big Oil or BigAg/Chem, this is the same problem and we need to frame the problem in a manner that can win the widest possible support. As this new victory shows some battles are being won in the courts, I’m sure none here can trust the courts will have our back since they seem to be getting pulled to the right as well, from the top down (cue the smiling faces of R.A.T.S.).


(P.S. – I’m the furthest thing from an attorney, so I’d enjoy reading the opinions of the many DKos contributors who are.)


I know there is some controversy about the efficacy of GM foods and I think we need to make a distinction between traditional hybridizing and frankenfoods. I offer a graphic here I saw some time ago (maybe it was on DKos) that shows the nutritional value of GM corn vs. organic corn. I think there is an argument that some GMOs cannot even meet the standard of being a “food.” Remember, a edible thing does not equal “food.”

NOTE: A number of posters more informed than I have identified the below table as being more a “soil analysis” than a comparison nutritional value GM corn vs. organic corn. Some have recommended the table be deleted, others say it should remain. So instead I just offer this note, along with the source link. Perhaps in authoring this diary, I am biting off far more than I can chew. In any event, it makes for an informative discussion, for which I am grateful.

Post your thoughts below in the comment section.