by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 28th 2012 3:48pm
Monsanto has quite a track record of going after farmers for making use of its "patented" seeds, even in a case that involve seeds that blew onto a farm from a neighboring farm. So, it wasn't entirely surprising to see a group of organic farmers preemptively sue Monsanto last year, asking for a declaratory judgment that they did not infringe. However, the judge in the case has now dismissed the case, noting that for a declaratory judgment, there has to be a real conflict, and Monsanto keeps insisting that it won't sue these farmers. From a legal standpoint, this argument makes sense (and the declaratory judgment standard can be pretty high in some cases -- especially if no direct threat has been issued). But, it still seems unfortunate. Given Monsanto's past actions in other cases, even if it says it won't sue now, plenty of farmers are reasonably scared about what will happen down the road. But, for now, they just have to wait and hope that Monsanto seeds don't show up on their farms...
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