Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit brought by The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and dozens of other plaintiff growers and organizations against Monsanto Company.
Late this week, OSGATA filed an appeal to overturn the District Court’s ruling.
“This action by the plaintiffs is just another attempt to deceive and mislead people about Monsanto’s business,” said Kyle McClain, associate general counsel of Monsanto.
“Monsanto believes that all farmers should have the opportunity to select the production method of their choice – whether that be organic, conventional or the improved seeds developed using biotechnology,” McClain noted. “All three production systems contribute to meeting the needs of consumers. OSGATA continues to ignore the role that all agriculture production systems can and do play in meeting the needs of our growing world. We believe this is irresponsible.”
In its appeal, OSGATA and plaintiffs have continued to allege that they did not want to grow crops containing Monsanto’s biotechnology traits but feared a patent-infringement lawsuit in the event the company’s traits happened to enter their fields inadvertently through, for example, cross-pollination.
The District Court rejected OSGATA lawsuit, noting that OSGATA had engaged in a “transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists.” The Court noted specifically that:
• There was no case or controversy in the matter because Monsanto had not taken any action or even suggested taking any action against any of the plaintiffs.
• Monsanto had a long-standing public commitment that “it has never been, nor will it be, Monsanto policy to exercise its patent rights where trace amounts of our patented seeds or traits are present in a farmer’s fields as a result of inadvertent means.”
• OSGATA and other plaintiffs’ allegations were “unsubstantiated …given that not one single plaintiff claims to have been so threatened.”
• OSGATA and other plaintiffs had “overstate[d] the magnitude of [Monsanto’s] patent enforcement,” noting that Monsanto’s average of roughly 13 lawsuits per year “is hardly significant when compared to the number of farms in the United States, approximately two million.”
Monsanto’s position on this matter has been clear since the beginning of this case. OSGATA’s claims are not only unsubstantiated but, more importantly, unjustified.