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
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 http://www.pubpat.org.
SOURCE Public Patent Foundation