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article imageFarmer Sued for $375,000 For Breaking A 'Seed End User License Agreement'

By malan     Jan 21, 2008 in Crime
Supreme Court rules that farmer must pay $375,000 in damages after he re-used the seeds from him crops to grow more soybeans... violating the seed company's "Seed End User Licensing Agreement"
Homan McFarling was accused of the crime in 1999 after he saved the GM soybean seeds from a previous year's crop for use in the next season.
TechDirt reports that the lawsuit stems from the fact that he saved seeds from the 1998 crop and re-used the seeds in 1999 and 2000. Monsanto, the company that created the genetically modified soybean seed says that McFarling signed a "technology agreement" that restricted him from re-planting the seeds for the next season.
As it turns out, McFarling might be the only one that will be sued by Monsanto. The Center for Food Safety says that the company has filed similar lawsuits against over 100 farmers for the same reasons.
In the McFarling case the company won $375,000 in damages. (McFarlin's lawyers are saying the penalty is excessive).
So why is it important to Monsanto to win this lawsuit? Check this out. reports that Monsanto's soybeans are bioengineered to withstand Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, in turn enabling farmers to use more herbicide without damaging the soybean crops. (Recent studies report that the use of GMO crops actually INCREASE the use of pesticides and herbicides.)
Monsanto said the "technology agreement" McFarling signed restricts him from being able to re-plant the seeds for the next season. Monsanto is one of a few largest companies that control the rights of seeds.
Now you start to understand why agricultural companies like this are pushing for genetically modified crops and / or animals. Once they end the need for conventional crops and animals farmers will be forced to buy new seeds year after year from seed companies (like Monsanto).
Is it not crazy to tell a farmer that they cannot replant seeds from plants they've grown? I can't believe the Supreme Court has sided with the seed company.
McFarling may not be alone facing challenges from the giant agricultural business. According to the Center for Food Safety which opposes the suit, Monsanto filed lawsuits against about 100 farmers for the same cause.
Not only does this mean farmers will be put in a bind the more they used genetically modified items, but could this open the door for other large companies to put licensing agreements on their products that limit your use of the product AFTER you purchase it and are the owner?
What if someone told YOU that you could not give a shirt that no longer fits you to your friend because your friend did not own a 'license' for that article of clothing? Ummm, no.
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