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4-Patents: Monsanto drops seed patent lawsuit against North Dakota family



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TITLE:  Monsanto drops seed patent lawsuit against North Dakota family
SOURCE: Associated Press, posted by biotech-info.net, USA
        http://www.biotech-info.net/monsanto_drops.html
DATE:   October 30, 2001

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


"Monsanto drops seed patent lawsuit against North Dakota family"

FARGO, N.D. - Monsanto Co. is settling a seed patent violation lawsuit it 
filed against a North Dakota farmer and his sons. The St. Louis-based 
company had contended that Roger Nelson and his sons, Greg and Rodney, of 
Amenia, N.D., illegally saved Roundup Ready seed in 1998 and planted it a 
year later. The Nelsons denied the company's claims. Roundup Ready seeds 
are immune to Roundup, a herbicide made by Monsanto. It was developed so 
farmers could use the herbicide to kill weeds while not hurting their crop.

Monsanto, in its federal court case, said the Nelsons had not paid 
technical fees for some of their 1999-planted seed, a violation of patent 
laws. The case led to a new state law allowing farmers to ask the North 
Dakota State Seed Department to accompany investigators when they collect 
field samples for evidence.

Monsanto spokeswoman Lori Fisher said the settlement includes a 
confidentiality agreement. She would not release details. "We think the 
resolution is one that is not only fair to Monsanto, but to the Nelsons and 
to farmers everywhere," she said.

"I'm relieved it's over," said Roger Nelson, who was in Fargo on Monday for 
physical rehabilitation after Aug. 29 heart bypass surgery. "We're still 
terribly upset at how we were used." He said his family is satisfied with 
the settlement, but also declined to discuss details.

"We feel like we were singled out because we planted part of the farm to 
Roundup (Ready) and part to conventional," he said. "We were well-prepared 
to go to court. We had plenty of evidence to show we did nothing wrong. But 
we looked at the cost of going to St. Louis and for taking our witnesses 
down there." Without a settlement, Nelson said, his family had no assurance 
that the trial would not come during planting or some other busy farming 
season.



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