[pp.int.general] patents for seeds

Glenn Kerbein glenn.kerbein at pirate-party.us
Sat Aug 15 18:30:18 CEST 2009

I think I should give a little background on Monsanto here. There is a
brilliant US documentary entitled "The Corporation", examining the
aspects of large corporations: their actions, their powers, and the
(un)intended consequences. In it, they go on about pesticides and
genetically modified organisms (GMOs, as they are often called).
Monsanto, during the Vietnam War, provided the US with a pesticide
advertised to kill off dense vegetation (Vietnamese forests). The
unintended consequence of this product ranged from illness, death, and
even _birth defects_. Needless to say, Monsanto was sued by Vietnamese
soldiers and mothers of deformed infants.
It should be without say that Monsanto, as well as most GMO-producers,
are huge players within the patent community.
Anther example from The Corporation: A Canadian farmer, prepared to reap
the year's harvest of wheat, was sued by Monsanto. Why? A trucker with a
poorly-sealed load of patented Monsanto seed had cross-bred with the
farmer's germinating wheat. The court ruled that the farmer not only
owed Monsanto that year's crop and an unfathomable amount of money, but
what seed he had stored up from that crop.
On a side note: Indian tranditionalist farmers were, at one point,
unable to store or trade their seed (within their community) because a
company claimed the originating rice patties were the company's
"intellectual property."

Reinier Bakels wrote:
> My newspaper today (NRC/H, a Dutch so-called quality newspaper) has a
> front page article on the patenting of seeds, wich is perceived as a
> threat by growers. Until recently, they were only subject to breeders
> rights - that allowed them to breed new varieties themselves. Which is
> perceived as essential, e.g. because varieties have to be adapted to
> remain vermin resistant. Else eventually the supply of food is
> endangered. But patent law now allows breeding seeds, and (after recent
> concentrations) the market is being dominated now by a handful of major
> players like Monsanto (US) and Syngenta (CH). They consider further
> bredding with the plants grown with their seeds as a form of piracy very
> similar to youngsters making "private copies" of music. Farmers and
> growers are pirates!
> While some of you are perhaps primarily interested in copyright or
> software patents, such developments show that there are *structural*
> problems in these fields  - presumably to be classified under the common
> denominator of smart "rent seeking" action by major American (but also
> Swiss) players. ("Rent seeking" is a term for lobbying by firms to get
> legislation that allows them to make more money without producing more).
> For those of you who read Dutch I can cut&paste the articles.
> reinier
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Glenn "Channel6" Kerbein
United States Pirate Party
"Burn, Hollywood, Burn"

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