by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 30th 2011 10:18am
Monsanto's incredibly overaggressive use of patents to corner the market on certain crops and to bully farmers has been well-documented over the years. Some of the really crazy stories involve Monsanto accusing farmers of patent infringement, because some of its "patented" seeds were used by neighboring farms, and the newly grown seeds were blown onto the neighboring property by wind, where they grew new plants. Now, a group of organic farmers fearful of being hit with similar threats and/or lawsuits have preemptively sued Monsanto asking for a declaratory judgment that they don't infringe, while also seeking to invalidate the patents. The full filing, embedded below, includes a description of why the farmers think that Monsanto's patents are invalid anyway, including the claim that Monsanto's modified seeds were not actually "useful" (it cites multiple studies debunking claims by Monsanto of the advantages of its seeds) and therefore, not patentable (since, in theory, patents are only allowed on "useful" inventions). Should make for an interesting case, though I would guess it won't get very far...
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