If Negotiations Break Down

Not every farmer who breaches their TSA or infringes Monsanto’s patent rights chooses to resolve the matter with a confidential out-of-court settlement. It is certainly their right if they choose to take their dispute to court. But court action is not common in Canada. Monsanto has only been to trial twice in Canada with growers on issues of patent infringement. If you follow the development of agricultural patent law issues, you will be aware of a Saskatchewan farmer named Percy Schmeiser. During his frequent lecture tours, Schmeiser continues to say he didn’t plant Roundup Ready® canola. He’s even stated he won the case in the Canadian Supreme Court. What he doesn’t say is that three separate court decisions, including the Supreme Court decision, say exactly the opposite.

The only other saved seed trial in Canada involved four soybean farmers in Ontario – Charles Rivett, Lawrence Janssens, Ronald Janssens and Alan Kerkhof. These growers admitted their infringement and the Canadian courts awarded profits to Monsanto, plus interest, and legal costs as a consequence of their illegal activity.

Another consequence faced by these four soybean farmers was that Monsanto invoked its Violator Exclusion Policy. Under Monsanto’s Violator Exclusion Policy, these four farmers are no longer permitted to obtain a TSA and therefore, they cannot grow any crops that contain Monsanto’s patented technology. Monsanto advises our individual retailers and dealers of TSA terminations so they can ensure that there are no future sales to the farm entity.

Farmers who have their TSA terminated also lose access to any of Monsanto’s future technology as it is developed and commercialized. This means they do not benefit from the new products in our pipeline that good paying customers can purchase. We know this serves as a serious deterrent for farmers who want to breach their contracts and save seed because some farmers have asked us to be removed from the list. When asked to consider this course of action, we negotiate the terms for removal with consideration of the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

Recently, on March 12, 2013, the Federal Court of Canada issued a judgment against farmers Eugene Wowdzia and Clifford Wowdzia, of Lavoy, Alberta, and their farm corporations, for the unauthorized growing of Genuity® Roundup Ready® canola.

The Court judgment includes an admission from the offending farmers that they deliberately infringed Monsanto’s patent by growing, harvesting and selling canola they knew was protected by Monsanto’s patent. All other terms of the judgment were also agreed to by the Wowdzias, including the requirement to pay Monsanto a monetary award as a result of their infringement and pay the legal costs associated with their defence.
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