Eighty-three plaintiffs representing over 300,000 organic farmers have joined together seeking a court ruling against big-Ag giant Monsanto. The groups are seeking legal protection from the threats and abuse of patent infringement lawsuits in which they can currently be held liable even when organic crops are cross-contaminated without the organic farmer’s knowledge or consent.
The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, or OSGATA v. Monsanto for short, saw a small advance earlier this month when a judge agreed to hear arguments in a motion to dismiss by Monsanto. Osgata.org reports,
It was standing room only as family farmers from around North America filled Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald’s courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday, January 31. The topic was the landmark organic community lawsuit OSGATA et al v. Monsanto and the oral argument Monsanto’s pre-trial motion to dismiss which it filed last July. . . .
Daniel Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation, lead lawyer for the Plaintiffs said,
“The judge graciously permitted both parties to raise all the points they wished in a session that lasted over an hour. While Monsanto’s attorney attempted to portray the risk organic farmers face from being contaminated and then accused of patent infringement as hypothetical and abstract, we rebutted those arguments with the concrete proof of the harm being suffered by our clients in their attempts to avoid such accusations. The judge indicated she will issue her ruling within two months. We expect she will deny the motion and the case will then proceed forward. If she should happen to grant the motion, we will most likely appeal to the Court of Appeals who will review her decision without deference.”
In the following clip, Mr. Ravicher explains the situation and the case at a local organic expo. What he says near the end is highly important: Monsanto has the money and the connections in Washington; we must rely on grass roots and word-of-mouth to protect ourselves from their extraordinarily protected encroachments on the natural and organic farming world. Please forward this to a friend.
Here’s geke.com’s venn diagram of Monsanto‘s corporate influence in Washington. You can see they are in high places. Note that the one person who doesn’t appear on the list is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who was legal counsel to Monsanto in the 1970s, and who also penned the Supreme Court’s majority decision which allowed Monsanto to patent the very GMO seeds at the heart of the current controversy and case.