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[SANET-MG] Schmeiser case
The supreme court did little to clear up the problem. The court seems
to say that the polluted must pay when GM crops invade their farms.
However, the court seemed to say that the polluted do not really have
to pay unless they use the patented herbicide on their crop.
C B C . C A N e w s - F u l l S t o r y :
Monsanto can hold plant patent: Supreme Court
Last Updated Fri, 21 May 2004 11:06:22
OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against a Saskatchewan farmer
Friday, saying since U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto holds a patent on
a gene in its canola plant, it can control the use of the plant.
In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld Monsanto's patent over its Roundup
Ready canola plant gene.
The company inserts a gene into a canola plant to make it
pesticide-resistant. Monsanto holds patents over the gene and the
insertion process, and argued the patent should extend to control of the
Justice Louise Arbour, who wrote the minority dissenting opinion, argued
that the gene and the process could be patented, but that patent
protection cannot be extended to the whole plant.
The company alleged Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser grew the
patented canola seeds without paying for them, therefore infringing on
the company's patent.
INDEPTH: Percy Schmeiser's battle
Schmeiser argued the canola seed blew onto his property from a nearby
farmer's truck without his knowledge. He has said the plants "polluted"
In a news release, Monsanto said it welcomed the decision, saying the
Supreme Court has "set a world standard in intellectual property
In a small victory for Schmeiser, the Supreme Court ruled he does not
have to pay the $19,000 he made off his 1998 crop harvest to Monsanto.
Schmeiser has already lost his case in lower courts.
In 2002, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling that found
Schmeiser guilty of illegally planting the Monsanto canola on his
property. He was ordered to pay $175,000 in damages, plus court costs.
In 2003, the government of Ontario intervened in Schmeiser's Supreme
Court case, saying it has "important implications for the development of
public policy in Ontario including the delivery of health care to its
Ontario argued a gene molecule can be patented, but not the genetic
information within the molecule.
FROM DEC. 5, 2002: Supreme Court rejects patent on genetically modified
The Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled against patenting a higher
life form in the case of the Harvard mouse. The court ruled the mouse
was a higher life form and could not be patented.
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