The Classic David vs Goliath Struggle.....
A law that punishes the victim and rewards the perpetrator has to be changed: Council of Canadians
Percy Schmeiser's case is Supreme Court-bound OTTAWA, ON, May 8 - In a decision rendered today by communiqué, the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed it will hear the case of Percy Schmeiser. The Council of Canadians views this decision as a victory for farmers who currently stand liable for the accidental contamination of their fields, and a battle won in a larger war against the patenting of GE seeds.
This is a key moment for Percy Schmeiser and countless farmers who are legally challenged by Monsanto. After the Federal Court of Canada (FCC) decided against him and after seeing the Federal Court of Appeals (FCA) throw out his appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada will now tackle the issue of patenting seeds and the burden of responsibility in the case of contamination.
Percy Schmeiser was never accused nor condemned of stealing Monsanto's GE canola seeds. He was accused of infringing Monsanto's patenting rights by having Round-up Ready canola in his fields, regardless of the fact that these seeds got there accidentally.
As part of his ruling, the original 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 not in the case of genetically modified seed. "The last two decisions basically mean that the cost of the contamination by GE seeds is to be assumed by the victims of it and that Monsanto, who was the cause of the contamination in the first place, has a legal right to profit from it," explains Nadège Adam, biotechnology campaigner for the Council of Canadians.
"This interpretation might make sense under a very old copyright/patent law... but a law that punishes the victim and rewards the perpetrator has to be changed.
"We are very confident that the Supreme Court will do the right thing by reversing the Federal Court of Canada's decision, and exonerating Mr. Schmeiser and all farmers. The Oncomouse case last December demonstrated how inadequate the federal patenting legislation is vis-à-vis genetic engineering."
For further information: Nadège Adam, Biotechnology Campaigner - Council of Canadians, 613.233.4487 ext. 245; Guy Caron, Media Officer - Council of Canadians, 613.233.4487 ext. 234
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