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As Worcester Mag reported in April 2011, “In 1998, Monsanto contacted Canadian canola farmer Percy Schmeiser, informing him that he was using their Roundup Ready canola seed in his fields without paying a yearly fee for it. The previous year, Schmeiser found a portion of his crop resistant to Roundup and harvested the seeds for future planting, claiming ignorance in regards to how it got there or knowing where it came from.
"Eventually, the property-rights versus patent-rights lawsuit (instigated by Monsanto) went to the Canadian Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 in favor of the bio-agricultural company, with the majority arguing that even if Schmeiser inadvertently planted patented seeds, he knew what they were when he harvested them for future use.
"The Public Patent Foundation is a non-profit legal-services organization that represents the public interest in the patent system – specifically, the public interest against undeserved patents and unsound patent policy.
"PUBPAT currently represents several chapters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, including NOFA Massachusetts, in a lawsuit against Monsanto relating to the agricultural giant's patents on genetically modified seed.
"In the lawsuit, PUBPAT is seeking a declaration that if any of NOFA's members are ever contaminated by Monsanto's GMO seed, Monsanto would not as a result be allowed to sue or threaten to sue them for patent infringement."
In an all-new episode, Steve D'Agostino interviews Daniel Ravicher, executive director of the Public Patent Foundation and a lecturer in law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Steve does voluntary public-relations work for NOFA.