Monsanto sued by 5 million farmers for $7.7 billion dollars ( 6.2 Euros) after decades of unethical practices, abuse and government cooperation. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court seems sympathetic to Monsanto
Launching a lawsuit against the very company that is blamed for a farmer suicide every 30 minutes, 5 million farmers are now suing Monsanto for as much as 6.2 billion euros (around 7.7 billion US dollars). The reason? As with many other cases, such as the ones that led certain farming regions to be known as the ‘suicide belt’, Monsanto has been reportedly taxing the farmers to financial shambles with ridiculous royalty charges. The farmers state that Monsanto has been unfairly gathering exorbitant profits each year on a global scale from “renewal” seed harvests, which are crops planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest.
The practice of using renewal seeds dates back to ancient times, but Monsanto seeks to collect massive royalties and put an end to the practice. Why? Because Monsanto owns the very patent to the genetically modified seed, and is charging the farmers not only for the original crops, but the later harvests as well.
Eventually, the royalties compound and many farmers begin to struggle with even keeping their farm afloat. It is for this reason that India slammed Monsanto with groundbreaking ‘bio-piracy’ charges in an effort to stop Monsanto from ‘patenting life’.
Jane Berwanger, a lawyer for the farmers who went on record regarding the case, told the Associated Press:
“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production.”
Further Lawsuits are Inevitable as Crimes Become Apparent
As the information continues to surface on Monsanto’s crimes, further lawsuits will begin to take effect. After it was ousted in January that Monsanto was running illegal ‘slave-like’ working rings, more individuals became aware of just how seriously Monsanto seems to disregard their workers — so why would they care for the health of their consumers? In April, another group of farmers sued Monsanto for ‘knowingly poisoning’ workers and causing ‘devastating birth defects’.
Will endless lawsuits from millions of seriously affected individuals be the end of Monsanto?
Monsanto was the first corporation to ever be granted a patent for a seed in the United States. Under ordinary circumstances seeds cannot be patented due to a stipulation that “life” can’t be patented. Monsanto’s and their “Roundup Ready” genetically modified soybean (and other GMO products) are reviled by environmentalists and constitutionalists the world over for their manipulation of sound policy and devastating effects on the environment.
Monsanto Devastates Farmers and Environment
What is sometimes overlooked is the human carnage that lies in Monsanto’s wake. Many times farmers who DID NOT plant “Roundup Ready” products found that “Roundup Ready” seeds in ditches or neighboring fields inadvertently cross pollinated with their own(NOT Roundup Ready) plants. Monsanto agents have been known to go into farmer’s fields on farmers property and spray Roundup in their crops. If their plants DID NOT DIE and the farmer did not have proof of purchasing Roundup Ready products, Monsanto would sue them for theft of their patented product and keep them tied up in legal battles so long that they would eventually agree to pay Monsanto what it was asking in fees or end up losing their family farms due to inability to afford the lengthy legal proceedings.
Now many traditional crops are contaminated with GMO genetics due to cross- polinization that the farmers neither desired nor caused. Mexico’s corn supply has been contaminated beginning with their agreement to allow American corn into their country more than a decade ago.
Additionally, Monsanto and the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) have a long and incestuous relationship. Many top paid executives at Monsanto have been hired into high paying positions at the EPA and vice versa. The end result is that many suspect that Monsanto has been extremely influential in legislation pertaining to farming over the past decades.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court Seemed sympathetic to Monsanto on 2/21/2012. Only time will tell how this litigation will end.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide between now and July as to whether Mr. Bowman had the legal right to replant those crops, but reports from Tuesday’s hearing suggests that it will likely be a hard battle for the farmer to win. He last had his argument thrown out by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in September 2011 after it was decided that a second-generation seed constituted a “newly infringing article.”
According to Bloomberg News, Justice Stephen Breyer seemed to agree with that interpretation during Tuesday’s hearing and told Mr. Bowman’s lawyer, “What [the law] prohibits is making a copy of the patented invention, and that is what he did.”
Without strong patent protection, “Monsanto would have no incentive to create a product like this one,”added Justice Elena Kagan.
The Associated Press reports that Chief Justice John Roberts wondered “why anyone in the world”would invest time and money on seeds if it was so easy to evade patent protection.
Bill Freese, the science and policy analyst for The Center for Food Safety, tells the AP that a win for Monsanto is unlikely to hurt the company’s profits since most of their money is made off of cord, a seed that can’t be re-planted.
“So seed-saving would have no impact on the majority of Monsanto’s seed revenue,” he says.
Should Monsanto win, though, the Supreme Court ruling is likely to set a strong precedent for protecting patents, even those that are considered unfair by farmers like Bowman.