Surly, With Infringe on Top
A federal judge in Canada ruled yesterday that a Canadian farmer had infringed on Monsanto’s patent rights because plants from the company’s genetically engineered canola seed had been found on his property, apparently after pollen from modified plants on farms nearby had drifted onto his land. The farmer, Percy Schmeiser, was ordered to pay thousands of dollars to Monsanto, which filed the suit as part of an aggressive campaign to ensure that farmers purchase the genetically engineered seed each year, instead of saving their seed. Schmeiser argued that he had been saving his own seed for years and shouldn’t be held accountable for pollen blown in from neighboring farms. In related news, the U.S. Department of Agriculture expects that U.S. farmers this year will plant more genetically engineered soy and cotton crops than ever before.