Canada’s Supreme Court Upholds Monsanto’s Claims On Engineered Crop | May 31, 2004 Issue - Vol. 82 Issue 22 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 82 Issue 22 | p. 7 | News of The Week
Issue Date: May 31, 2004

Canada's Supreme Court Upholds Monsanto's Claims On Engineered Crop

Department: Government & Policy

n a case that began seven years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada now has ruled that a Saskatchewan farmer violated Monsanto’s patent on herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready canola by illegally using the modified crop. The case strengthens intellectual property rights for makers of genetically modified organisms.

The 5-to-4 decision, which upholds the decisions of two lower courts, said that the farmer, Percy Schmeiser, had actually cultivated Monsanto’s Roundup Ready canola without ever buying the seed or paying the license fee. Monsanto charges that Schmeiser therefore infringed on the company’s patent. Tests determined that Schmeiser’s canola crop—about 1,000 acres in 1998—consisted of more than 95% Roundup Ready canola. Schmeiser insisted that seeds for the modified crop had blown onto his property or fallen off passing trucks.

Monsanto will not profit from the decision. The court held that Schmeiser did not have to give the company nearly $15,000 he had made in profits from the crop, nor did he have to pay its legal costs.

In a statement, Monsanto Executive Vice President Carl M. Casale said: “We believe the Supreme Court of Canada decision is good news for Canadians. The court has set a world standard in intellectual property protection, and this ruling maintains Canada as an investment opportunity.”

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