Saturday, October 13, 2007

ACGA favors patent reform to protect farmers

A press release by the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA)includes the text:

“Currently farmers are vulnerable to attack from biotech interests
that sue family farmers for allegedly infringing on their patent rights
due to actions that are often beyond their control,” explained Bolin.
“ACGA urges quick passage of legislation that would help level the
playing field for family farmers defending themselves against dubious
claims of patent infringement.”

“Family farmers have been struggling for years against lawsuits that
claim they have willfully infringed on the patents of genetically
modified organisms (GMOs),” added Bolin. “These allegations of
infringement are often unwarranted since farmers in many cases are sued after
their fields are contaminated by pollen that naturally drifts over from
a neighboring field. It has been proven that pollen (including GMOs)
can drift more than five miles, which is impossible for an individual
farmer to block or control in any way. Accordingly, these farmers should
not be accused of ‘willfully’ infringing on the patent of seeds
that naturally cross-pollinated into their fields.”

Bolin continued by stating, “Farmers should not be forced to travel
hundreds of miles to another state to defend themselves against such
allegations. To do so, often to defend themselves against unwarranted
accusations, adds undue and often insurmountable financial stress on their
modest family budgets. Currently the corporate plaintiffs in these
cases often select courts in distant locations that favor them, which
requires family farmers to travel to courts that are not only far away but
also biased against them. The situation that farmers must endure
today is clearly not the intent of the patent system and it should be

IPBiz notes that the ACGA is concerned about issues of willful damages and venue. Post-grant review (opposition) would likely be of no more help to small famers than it would have been to Albie's in the Smucker peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich case.


Page 183 of the Oct. 12 Science has a news capsule: "Few Clues in Rice Mystery" which notes that genetically modified rice of Bayer CropScience someone got into commercial samples.


Blogger nosmokes said...

I'm no attorney but I'm taking a guess that *willful intent* has a legal definition that is differs from that of us mere mortals out that only hafta abide by incomprehesible legalese, the ignorance of which, we all know, is no exuse for violating same. However, it seems to me, as a reg'lar guy and a farmer, which from y'all's perspective would put me in the category of dangerous person(interested idiot) simply planting the GE corn and knowing that a high probability of the wind blowing in the direction of my cornfield during pollination season is willful intent. Of course I have huge doubts and even igger concerns that any court system could break it down to a level so simplistic and basic. But in the real world o agriculture, no matter how hard the corporations try to make it a factory, that is the reality.

1:39 PM  

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