A New York federal court today dismissed a lawsuit against agribusiness giant Monsanto brought by thousands of certified organic farmers. The farmers hoped the suit would protect them against infringing on the company’s crop patents in the future.
The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and several other growers and organizations do not use Monsanto seeds. But they were betting that the judge would agree that Monsanto should not be allowed to sue them if pollen from the company’s patented crops happened to drift into their fields.
Instead, the judge found that plaintiffs’ allegations were “unsubstantiated … given that not one single plaintiff claims to have been so threatened.” The ruling also found that the plaintiffs had “overstate[d] the magnitude of [Monsanto's] patent enforcement.” Monsanto brings an average of 13 patent-enforcement lawsuits per year, which, the judge said, “is hardly significant when compared to the number of farms in the United States, approximately two million.”
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