BRUNO, Sask. (CP) -- A Saskatchewan farmer hopes the Supreme Court will
overturn a ruling that found he violated Monsanto's patent on
Percy Schmeiser said Friday will seek leave to appeal a
Federal Court of Appeal judgment that dismissed arguments that he did not
violate the patent on its Roundup Ready canola.
"We know that we are up against a multi-billion
dollar corporation that has deep pockets," Schmeiser said.
Last year, Schmeiser was ordered to pay $19,000 in
damages for unlawfully using the seed and another $153,000 to cover Monsanto's
court costs. However, the court rejected a bid by Monsanto to see the damages
raised to more than $100,000.
Schmeiser said Monsanto's patent rights will be the main
issue if the high court agrees to hear his appeal.
Despite his loss in court, Schmeiser has become
somewhat of a folk hero among farm and consumer activists around the world who
are opposed to genetically modified foods and their use in agriculture.
"Farmers around the world are very concerned
about losing the right to control their own seed," he said.
The news that he had a further setback in court
prompted many people to call him with encouragement and offers to help fund
his appeal, he said.
The 71-year-old farmer said the court fight thus far
has been costly.
"We spent all of our life savings and we
mortgaged two- or three-quarters of our land to pay that," he said.
"It has cost us a tremendous amount."
A fund has been established at a bank in nearby
Humboldt, Sask. for donations to help pay his legal bills and Schmeiser has a
Web site that encourages people to donate.
While he wouldn't disclose how much has been raised,
he said he has received donations as large as $8,000.
"Now I'll have to go back to the world community
and say 'if you want me to fight this, I can. But I need help.' I'm sure those
funds will come in."
Some groups from as far away as Australia have paid
Schmeiser to travel to speak to them.
Although Schmeiser's appeal was rejected on 17
grounds, the farmer was most upset with the comment by federal court judge
Andrew MacKay that it did not matter how the Roundup Ready gene got into his
"That's the big issue," said Schmeiser.
He has argued that either the seed blew into his
field from a passing truck or his crop may have been contaminated by
To view the Appeal Court Decision, click