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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola
    #2712337 - 05/21/04 07:32 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/05/21/canada/schmeiser_monsanto040521



OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against a Saskatchewan farmer Friday, saying since U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto holds a patent on a gene in its canola seed, it can control the use of the plant.


Percy Schmeiser says he was fighting for farmers

In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld Monsanto's patent over its Roundup Ready canola plant gene, ruling Percy Schmeiser infringed on the company's patent by growing the plant without a licence.

The company inserts a gene into a canola plant to make it pesticide-resistant. Monsanto holds patents over the gene and the insertion process, and argued the patent should extend to control of the plant.


INDEPTH: Percy Schmeiser's battle

The court agreed, writing: "By cultivating a plant containing the patented gene and composed of the patented cells without license, [the Schmeisers] thus deprived Monsanto of the full enjoyment of its monopoly."

Justice Louise Arbour, who wrote the minority dissenting opinion, argued that the gene and the process could be patented, but that patent protection cannot be extended to the whole plant.

Schmeiser argued the canola seed blew onto his property from a nearby farm. He has said the plants "polluted" his fields.

In a news release, Monsanto said it welcomed the decision, adding the Supreme Court has "set a world standard in intellectual property protection."

In what Schmeiser called a "personal victory," the Supreme Court ruled he does not have to pay roughly $200,000 in court costs and damages to Monsanto.

He said his battle is now over, but believes the debate over patenting life forms must continue.

"I and my wife have done everything possible to take it this far," said Schmeiser. "It will have to be carried forward, whether it's through the Parliament of Canada or other countries of the world."

Schmeiser's supporters argue the patent could limit scientific and medical research, which routinely manipulates genes.

Nadege Adams, a member of the consumer group the Council of Canadians said, "The implication of this decision will affect us all. From the poor farmer in India, worried about his ability to save seeds, to Canadian concerns about big companies appropriating our bio-diversity."

Schmeiser had already lost his case in lower courts.

In 2002, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling that found Schmeiser guilty of illegally planting the Monsanto canola on his property. He was ordered to pay $175,000 in damages, plus court costs.



How is this different from someone writing a computer virus, then suing the people it infects for copyright infringement?


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2712346 - 05/21/04 07:35 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

Stupid Canadian court.

Unless it can be proved he planted the seeds, that's a bogus decision.


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2712353 - 05/21/04 07:37 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

My guess is an American court would have reached the same conclusion.


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Offlinephi1618
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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2712360 - 05/21/04 07:40 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

yup - almost posted this myself. bad decision.


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2712365 - 05/21/04 07:40 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

I hope not.


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: phi1618]
    #2712382 - 05/21/04 07:47 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

Did you see it on Slashdot too?


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Offlinephi1618
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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2712391 - 05/21/04 07:51 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

sure did.

That's also where I found out about the DMCRA, which led to this isanely popular thread:
Wish you had this many replies, huh?


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Offlinefalcon
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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2712532 - 05/21/04 08:36 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

If the farmer didn't plant the seeds Monsanto may be trespassing. Sounds like there's a bucket load of money to be made charging rent for Monsanto plants when you find them on your property. You don't let your cattle run free on someone elses range land unless you have permission from the property owner.


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2712666 - 05/21/04 09:20 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

With the exception that he claimed he didn't plant these, I think this is the right decision. If Monsanto couldn't prove he planted purposely though, he shouldn't be held responsible. If I'm reading this correctly, he was absolved of any monetary damages and cost, just told he couldn't grow the plant. Additionally if it wasn't proved that he planted it purposely, Monsanto should absorb the cost of destroying and any damage they may cause to his crops in the process.

Intellectual property is going to increasingly become a problem with the technologies being developed. If a company develops a technology, even if it is self replicating, they should have complete control over it's use. Though they should also be required to cover costs for it's unwanted propagation.

If I were able to engineer a tree that grew to maturity in less than 25% the normal time to be used for lumber, should someone be able to grow my seeds without permission?


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I keep it real because I think it is important that a highly esteemed individual such as myself keep it real lest they experience the dreaded spontaneous non-existance of no longer keeping it real. - Hagbard Celine


Edited by HagbardCeline (05/21/04 09:21 PM)


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: HagbardCeline]
    #2712683 - 05/21/04 09:25 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

What if other people's trees start growing faster on their own because of cross polination from your trees? Should they have to pay you even if they benefit from something that they never agreed to?


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2712835 - 05/21/04 10:17 PM (13 years, 5 days ago)

I'm glad this issue was brought up. I have a real problem with the monopolies that these ag giants have. My family has farmed for generations, so this hits close to home for me. I'll give you an example. A friend of my dad was being sued by a seed company for growing plants with seeds that came from last year's crop. From the seed companies point of view, he should have to buy new seeds every year and not be able to use the viable seeds that come from last years crop, since he did not pay for the right to use those seeds. He lost the suit, seed company won, and that's typical of incidents like this. Of course, the seed companies have found away to circumvent this process completely by genetically engineering the hell out of their seeds so they can put patents and legal protections on them.

Another issue I think is worth mentioning and one most probably don't think much about, genetic engineering. I think its safe to assume that genetically engineered crops are grown outdoors, just like most other crops. We'll use corn as an example. Say you have a few acres of organic corn. Organic seeds, no pesticides, etc, grown completely organic. Now let's say a mile or two away, there is a cornfield run by a farmer using genetically engineered seeds to grow their corn. When pollination occurs and the winds start to blow, what do you think happens? Anyone who thinks they are eating organic foods needs to chew on that for awhile.

Even the farmers are at odds with the large agricultural companies, which you'd think they would try to avoid as they are the customer base. There's always some story in the news about a lawsuit with one of these large agricultural companies and they almost always win.


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2712980 - 05/21/04 11:11 PM (13 years, 5 days ago)

Quite the dilema.

We're it just that they replicated exactly, the recognition and collection of being adequate for containment, I would say this was cut and dry.

I think the question would then be, if by pollination they contaminate the environment and it can be reasonably demonstrated that there are undesirable, or a strong possibilty for unforseen catastrophic consequences, do they have a right to release such an organism into the environment.


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I keep it real because I think it is important that a highly esteemed individual such as myself keep it real lest they experience the dreaded spontaneous non-existance of no longer keeping it real. - Hagbard Celine


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: HagbardCeline]
    #2713124 - 05/22/04 12:15 AM (13 years, 5 days ago)

I don't think the example of a super-fast growing tree is really applicable, because that's not really within the range of the things that can be accomplished w/ genetic engineering today.

What is patented are the genes. If a roundup-ready corn plant cross-polinated another strain on another farmers land, and the other strain acquired the gene that makes it immune to roundup, then it seems likely that the farmer who unwillingly has the patented gene in his corn would be in violation of Monsanto's patent, whether he used roundup or not.


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: phi1618]
    #2714223 - 05/22/04 11:01 AM (13 years, 5 days ago)

Here's a point to digest; after 50 years of using geneticly modified organisms, what effect are the implanted genes going to have on existing species?It has been shown that herbicide/pesticide resistance is detrimental to the "normal" ecosystem (the Bt gene corn who's pollen kills butterflies for example)and that these genes are transferable.In fifty years what will the genetic state of our ecosystem be? As transgenic organisms begin to appear in nature, have we accounted for the impact of a round-up resistant invasive weed species which has picked up the Monsanto gene by transferance through a secondary micro-organism?Will Monsanto sue the microbe for theft of intellectiual property? or the weed for recieving stolen goods?
The basic fact is we are releasing genomes which are not in the same class as the genetic changes done by nature.Nature borrrows genetic material from similar organisms and has checks and balances to insure competition.We have mixed the "lime and the coconut" so to speak and as with the Bt corn pollen nature cannot keep pace witht the lab.
So as we blindly change the very foundation of life,as we create new and unatural organisms and release them into the ecosystem, perhaps some thought should be given to what sort of world we will live in once transgenic organisms have spread their genetic manipulations throughout the planet,especially since the manipulations most often confer a resistance to a substance or condition,as weed species are confered this same resistance through natures own (albeit slower)gene swapping process,will Monsanto rise to the need and produce new herbicides and organisms to go with them.Where does it end? How toxic will comercial crops have to become until insect and weed competition are eliminated?Monsanto I believe is quite ready to show us.
WR


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: whiterasta]
    #2714261 - 05/22/04 11:28 AM (13 years, 5 days ago)

tough questions to answer for sure, but I think there's a good chance it won't be all that bad.

Genes code for the production of proteins; the production of proteins requires resources. In the wild, a roundup-ready plant will almost certainly lose out to its unmodified competitors because the roundup-destroying enzyme will serve no purpose but require resources to make. Bt is a different situation - it is easy to see how this might be a beneficial mutation for any plant. Also, like you pointed out, the there are uninended effects to its use.

There are valid environmental concerns about GM organisms, but I think they are probably overstated by opponents. We don't know for sure what the concequences will be; but, we never know for sure what the consequences of new technologies are, and there are almost always unitended ones. But, so far, we're still here...

I think the biggest problem with GM organisms is the ownership of genes confered by patents: if naturally occuring bacterial genes are found in any plant, the owner of those genes owns the plant. Since you can't really controll the spread of genes, this can be a real problem, as is shown by this case.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: phi1618]
    #2715998 - 05/22/04 10:04 PM (13 years, 4 days ago)

I don't think you guys are understanding the issues in this case. When Monsanto sold him the seeds it came with an agreement that he was not allowed to save the seeds generated by the plants for replantation. He signed the agreement. His original argument was that he didn't understand what he was signing and made a mistake but shouldn't be penalized. Maybe he did or maybe he was trying to get something for nothing. Regardless, the "evil" Monsanto corporation spent a great deal of time and money developing these plants which have immensely increased productivity. Without a profit motive these things wouldn't exist at all.


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2716004 - 05/22/04 10:06 PM (13 years, 4 days ago)

Personally, I'd rather they didn't.


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2716029 - 05/22/04 10:13 PM (13 years, 4 days ago)

A Luddite on the Internet????? How bizarre, how bizarre.


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2716041 - 05/22/04 10:15 PM (13 years, 4 days ago)

I like good technology, not evil technology.

I understand the difference.


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Re: Monsanto Wins Case Over Patented Canola [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2716065 - 05/22/04 10:20 PM (13 years, 4 days ago)

So developing disease and pest resistant plants that can totally eliminate world hunger is evil??????


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