Monsanto Patents Asserted Against American Farmers Rejected by Patent Office in PUBPAT Initiated Review: PTO Finds All Claims of All Four Patents Invalid

Jul 24, 2007, 01:00 ET from Public Patent Foundation

    NEW YORK, July 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Public Patent
 Foundation (PUBPAT) announced today that the United States Patent and
 Trademark Office has rejected four key Monsanto patents related to
 genetically modified crops that PUBPAT challenged last year because the
 agricultural giant is using them to harass, intimidate, sue -- and in some
 cases literally bankrupt -- American farmers. In its Office Actions
 rejecting each of the patents, the USPTO held that evidence submitted by
 PUBPAT, in addition to other prior art located by the Patent Office's
 Examiners, showed that Monsanto was not entitled to any of the patents.
     Monsanto has filed dozens of patent infringement lawsuits asserting the
 four challenged patents against American farmers, many of whom are unable
 to hire adequate representation to defend themselves in court. The crime
 these farmers are accused of is nothing more than saving seed from one
 year's crop to replant the following year, something farmers have done
 since the beginning of time.
     One study of the matter
 ( found
 that, "Monsanto has used heavy-handed investigations and ruthless
 prosecutions that have fundamentally changed the way many American farmers
 farm. The result has been nothing less than an assault on the foundations
 of farming practices and traditions that have endured for centuries in this
 country and millennia around the world, including one of the oldest, the
 right to save and replant crop seed." The lawsuits filed by Monsanto
 against American farmers include Monsanto Company v. Mitchell Scruggs, et
 al, 459 F.3d 1328 (Fed. Cir. 2006), Monsanto Company v. Kem Ralph
 individually, et al, 382 F.3d 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2004) and Monsanto Company v.
 Homan McFarling, 363 F.3d 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2004).
     Although Monsanto has the opportunity to respond to the Patent Office's
 rejections of the patents (U.S. Patents Nos. 5,164,316, 5,196,525,
 5,322,938 and 5,352,605), third party requests for re-examination, like the
 ones filed by PUBPAT against the four Monsanto patents, are successful in
 having the reviewed patents either changed or completely revoked more than
 two-thirds of the time.
     "We are extremely pleased that the Patent Office has agreed with us
 that Monsanto does not deserve these patents that it has used to unfairly
 bully American farmers," said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT's Executive Director.
 "Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end of the harm being caused to
 the public by Monsanto's aggressive assertion of these patents, which
 threatens family farms and a diverse American food supply."
     More information, including copies of the Office Actions issued by the
 U.S. Patent & Trademark Office rejecting the four Monsanto patents, can be
 found at PUBPAT > Monsanto Anti-Farmers Patents
     About the Public Patent Foundation
     The Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") is a not-for-profit legal
 services organization working to protect the public from the harms caused
 by the patent system, particularly the harms caused by undeserved patents
 and unsound patent policy. PUBPAT provides the general public and those
 specific persons or businesses otherwise deprived of access to the system
 governing patents, with representation, advocacy, and education. For more
 information, visit

SOURCE Public Patent Foundation