Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monsanto (MON) Sued by Organic Farmers

A group of over 50 U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers filed suit against global seed giant Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON), in a move to allegedly protect themselves from what they see as a growing threat in the company's arsenal of genetically modified crops.

The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed the suit on
behalf of more than 50 organizations challenging the
agricultural giant's patents on its genetically modified seeds.

The group is seeking a ruling that would prohibit Monsanto from
suing the farmers or dealers if their organic seed becomes
contaminated with Monsanto's patented biotech seed germplasm.

Monsanto is known for its zealous defense of its patents on
a range of genetically altered crops. Its patented "Roundup
Ready" soybeans, corn and cotton are favorites of U.S. farmers
because of their ability to withstand herbicide treatments.

But Monsanto has filed scores of lawsuits and won judgments
against farmers they claimed made use of their seed without
paying required royalties.

Monsanto called the lawsuit misleading and a "publicity
stunt" and said it has never sued and has committed to never
suing farmers over the inadvertent presence of biotechnology
traits in their fields. Legal precedent supports the validity of Monsanto patents, the company said. "These efforts seek to reduce private and public investment in the development of new higher-yielding seed technologies.

Monsanto closed Tuesday at $70.50, gaining $0.25, or 0.36 percent.


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