New York, 29 Sep 2006
The Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") filed formal requests with the United States Patent and Trademark Office today to review and ultimately revoke four of Monsanto Company's patents related to genetically modified crops that the agricultural giant is using to harass, intimidate, sue - and in some cases literally bankrupt - American farmers. In its filings, PUBPAT submitted prior art showing the patents were obvious in light of earlier work by other inventors and, as such, should have never been granted.
Monsanto has filed dozens of patent infringement lawsuits asserting the four challenged patents against American farmers, many of whom are unable to hire adequate representation to defend themselves in court. The crime these farmers are accused of is nothing more than saving seed from one year's crop to replant the following year, something farmers have done since the beginning of time. The Center for Food Safety found in its study of the matter that, "Monsanto has used heavy-handed investigations and ruthless prosecutions that have fundamentally changed the way many American farmers farm. The result has been nothing less than an assault on the foundations of farming practices and traditions that have endured for centuries in this country and millennia around the world, including one of the oldest, the right to save and replant crop seed."
"Monsanto's aggressive assertion of its patents is not only obnoxious and offensive to the core fabric of American life and culture, it is also causing substantial public harm," said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT's Executive Director. "It appears as though Monsanto wants to control all of America's farmland and - unfortunately - the patent system is providing them the perfect means to accomplish that goal by bullying independent and family owned farms right out of existence."
Copies of the Requests for Reexamination filed by PUBPAT against the four patents Monsanto is widely asserting against America's famers can be found at PUBPAT > Monsanto v. Farmer Patents.