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4-Patents: Percy Schmeiser seeks Canadian Supreme Court appeal

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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Farmer in Monsanto case seeks Supreme Court appeal
SOURCE: The Globe and Mail, Canada, by Kim Lunman
DATE:   Nov 6, 2002

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Farmer in Monsanto case seeks Supreme Court appeal

OTTAWA -- A Saskatchewan farmer billing himself as David versus Goliath in 
a legal fight against a biotechnology giant has applied to take Monsanto 
Co. to the Supreme Court of Canada in a case challenging the patentability 
of genetically modified life forms.

Percy Schmeiser, 71, of Bruno, Sask., is seeking leave to appeal a decision 
by the Federal Court of Appeal which upheld a lower court's ruling that 
found him guilty of patent infringement for growing a gene-altered canola 
variety immune to Monsato's powerful Roundup weed killer.

"This proposed appeal raises for the first time issues regarding the 
infringement of a patent for genetically altered living material," 
documents filed in the Supreme Court of Canada state. "By giving a very 
broad scope to the intellectual property rights of the biotechnology patent 
holder, the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal significantly narrows 
the proprietary rights of farmers over their seeds and crops."

Mr. Schmeiser has argued that the Roundup Ready canola seed arrived in his 
field by accident a few years ago, either from blowing off a passing truck 
or by cross-pollination from neighboring fields.

His case has received international attention and the prairie farmer has 
become an outspoken agricultural advocate. He was travelling yesterday in 
Ecuador on a lecture tour.

"Percy obviously feels the case raises significant issues for agriculture 
and the law in Canada," said his lawyer, Terry Zakreski. It's up to the 
Supreme Court to determine whether or not the appeal will be heard.

Mr. Schmeiser's lawyers argue the case is unique because it involves 
"diffuse" patented material. "Unlike the owner of the famous 'Harvard 
mouse' -- Monsanto released this diffuse material into the environment with 
the knowledge that it could not control the spread of the material," 
documents filed in the top court state.

The Supreme Court of Canada is to rule soon on the patentability of the 
Harvard mouse, genetically modified for use in cancer research.

But Canada's spokesperson for Monsanto Co., Trish Jordan, said the case of 
Mr. Schmeiser is a lot simpler than that.

"The actual case is pretty cut and dried," said Ms. Jordan. "Mr. Schneider 
was found guilty of patent violation. This was no accident."

In a March, 2001, ruling, federal Judge Andrew MacKay said the "balance of 
probabilities" showed Mr. Schmeiser grew herbicide-resistant canola without 
paying Monsanto Co. for the seeds.

Farmers pay Monsanto Co. a license fee of $15 an acre to use its gene-
altered canola seed. Farmers who don't pay face legal action if they are 
reported. An estimated 30,000 Canadian farmers use the product, said Ms. 
Jordan. So far, Mr. Schmeiser is the only one that has been taken to court. 
But 50 farmers have settled out of court in Canada with Monsanto Co.

Mr. Schmeister was ordered to pay Monsanto Co. $12,245 in damages and 
$100,000 in court costs.

The Council of Canadians yesterday called on the federal government to take 
a stand against patenting life forms in light of Mr. Schmeiser's legal 

"Our laws have not kept up with the science," said spokeswoman Nadege Adam. 
"Companies like Monsanto are taking advantage of the lack of regulatory 
clarity on the patenting of life forms and are taking farmers to court, 
suing them for all they've got."

Many researchers say they should be allowed to patent their genetic 
discoveries so they can reap the royalties when those discoveries are put 
to use by others. But others argue that genes are at the core of life and 
should not be treated as commercial property.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Schmeiser takes his case to the Supreme Court
        The Council of Canadians demands regulatory clarity on patenting of
SOURCE: The Council of Canadians, Press Release
DATE:   Nov 5, 2002

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Schmeiser takes his case to the Supreme Court

OTTAWA, ONTARIO - The Council of Canadians has learned that Saskatchewan 
farmer, Percy Schmeiser, filed an application for leave before the Supreme 
Court of Canada yesterday. The Council of Canadians is pointing the finger 
at the Prime Minister's office for dragging its heels on the patenting of 
lifeforms dossier and leaving it to the courts to sort out what has now 
become a major problem for farmers.

"They have allowed the marketing of genetically engineered (GE) products in 
Canada without doing a thorough assessment of the potential consequences 
such as the biotech industry's claim of intellectual property rights over 
living organisms," says Nadège Adam, campaigner for the Council of 

Schmeiser recently lost his appeal before the Federal Court of Canada. He 
was found liable for Monsanto's rogue GE canola found growing in his field. 
By modifying the genetic make-up of a plant, Monsanto is now claiming to 
have invented canola and, using the threat of prosecution, is aggressively 
working to protect its intellectual property rights.

"Our laws have not kept up with the science," adds Adam. "Companies like 
Monsanto are taking advantage of the lack of regulatory clarity on the 
patenting of lifeforms and are taking farmers to court, suing them for all 
they've got."

The Council of Canadians is most concerned with the implications of 
Monsanto's right to patent seeds. Monsanto who so far has been unable to 
contain their patented technology and has contaminated a significant number 
of farm lands across the country, has been given free reign to continue 
their pollution with impunity.

"Canada must take a stand against the patenting of lifeforms," says Adam. 
"This government must establish policies that prevent the control over 
seeds and other living organisms to be transferred from the public to the 
private domain."


For more information, please contact:
Nadège Adam, Biotechnology Campaigner - Council of Canadians
+1-613.233.4487 ext. 245 or +1-613.295.0432 (cell)
Guy Caron, Media Officer - Council of Canadians
+1-613.233.4487 ext. 234


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