Monsanto Wins Landmark Biotech Case Against Canadian Farmer

The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled in favor of biotech giant Monsanto in a case widely thought to be pivotal for the biotech industry. The court determined late last week that Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser had violated a Monsanto patent by growing the company’s herbicide-resistant canola without paying a licensing fee. Schmeiser contended that he didn’t plant the GM crop deliberately but rather that his fields were “polluted” by the crop, possibly by pollen blown in from a neighboring farm. Monsanto hailed the court for setting “a world standard in intellectual property protection.” GM opponents the world over were troubled by the court’s decision, which they fear will set a disturbing precedent. The only plus for Schmeiser was that the high court overturned a lower-court ruling requiring him to pay more than $100,000 in damages and court costs.