Monsanto vs. organics: court rules that a website promise is good enough

CC BY 2.0 Flickr user Dag Endresen

Over at the Huffingtion Post, a Reuters-reported story details the legal battle between Monsanto and organic farmers. The organic growers have been seeking to prohibit Monsanto from pursuing patent-protection lawsuits if their crops become cross-contaminated with small amounts of modified genes.

The Federal U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a promise on Monsanto's website to not sue over copyright infringement is sufficiently binding, and that farmers cannot force the company to sign a covenant:

" 'The assertion that Monsanto would pursue patent infringement against farmers that have no interest in using the company's patented seed technology was hypothetical from the outset,' the company said in a statement issued Monday. "

While the legal threat may be hypothetical, the underlying biological threat is not: the court found many non-GMO seeds had acquired Monsanto's Roundup resistant trait. The reality of cross-contamination is a serious concern facing farmers who are committed to organic growing.