The Classic David vs Goliath Struggle.....
"Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser loses canola gene case."
The Federal Court of Canada has issued their judgment in the case of Monsanto vs Schmeiser Enterprises over the technology use fee for Round Up Ready canola. Justice Andrew McKay upheld the validity of Monsanto's patented gene which it inserts into canola varieties to make them resistant to their herbicide Round Up.
McKay dismissed Schmeiser's challenge to the patent based on the claim Monsanto could not control how the gene was dispersed through the countryside.
In a key part of the ruling, 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.
It was that part of the ruling that most upsets Percy Schmeiser.
" I was really alarmed at the fact that it said in the decision that it doesn't matter how it gets into a farmer's field -- whether it blows in or cross-pollinates, floods, comes in on farm machinery -- it doesn't belong to the farmer. It belongs to Monsanto, " Schmeiser said.
Monsanto, in a short news release, applauded the judge's ruling and said that it was gratified that the judge upheld the company's patent.
Farmers who sign a Monsanto technology use agreement pay $15. per acre to use the genetically altered crop.
Schmeiser never signed an agreement with Monsanto, never attended any informational meetings that the company held on the new variety and maintains that Monsanto's product contaminated his fields. Monsanto never introduced any evidence during the trial indicating that Schmeiser "stole" their seed. Their claim was that it didn't matter how the genetically altered seed got there, they had a patent on the product and that since Schmeiser had the product in his field, he had to pay the use fee.
Schmeiser maintained through the trial that he didn't want their product in his fields and produced evidence that he did not take advantage of the technology as he did not spray his fields with Round up. He also charged Monsanto with contaminating his canola seed that he had developed over 40 years of being a conventional canola grower.
The judge gave the lawyers 21 days to come up with a agreed upon award figure. Monsanto was seeking $105,000.
Schmeiser is considering an appeal and stated he would release his intentions shortly. He broke down at one point, saying he was prepared to fight on, but he had to consider the impact on his wife, who had been ill.
To view the judgment click here
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