In rather saddening news today, a federal class-action lawsuit brought last year by a consortium of farmers against the agricultural and chemical company Monsanto was dismissed Monday by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of Federal District Court.
The plaintiffs, none of whom use Monsanto’s products, are seeking to have the company’s agricultural patents invalidated.
According to Business Week, they claimed they were concerned that Monsanto would sue them if the company’s patented strains of soybeans, corn, or alfalfa, which make up a majority of American crops, appeared in their fields.
In January, oral arguments in the case brought hundreds of farmers and advocates to Lower Manhattan to protest the power wielded by Monsanto in American agriculture.
In Monday’s ruling, the judge said the farmers consortium, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, had no standing to bring such a suit, had not been harmed by the company, and had engaged in “a transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists.”
The lead counsel for the plaintiffs, Daniel B. Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation, said the decision “to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world’s foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing.”
But Monsanto’s general counsel, David F. Snively, called it “a win for all farmers as it underscores that agricultural practices such as ag-biotechnology, organic, and conventional systems do and will continue to effectively coexist in the agricultural marketplace.”
Mr. Ravicher said the plaintiffs would probably take the case to the Federal Court of Appeals.