Que. farmers to pay for unlicensed RR seeding

Three farmers in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac St. Jean region will pay $200 per acre for growing Roundup Ready canola without a license, Monsanto Canada reports.

Monsanto, well known for its zealous defense of patents on Roundup Ready herbicide-tolerant seed genetics, said in a release Monday that it spotted the patent breaches as part of its annual technology protection audit program.

The company said it “worked with the three growers to come up with settlement terms agreeable to both sides.”

Monsanto Canada, the Canadian arm of the St. Louis, Mo.-based seed and chemical company, protects its Roundup Ready patents by means of a technology use agreement (TUA), which binds farmers not to plant the seed harvested from a crop of Roundup Ready plants.

“In the case of the three Quebec growers, the infringements resulted from growing, harvesting and selling Roundup Ready canola which they knew contained patented technology they had not paid to use,” the company said in its release.

“Monsanto invests more than $2.5 million per day in research and development that ultimately benefits farmers and consumers. Without patent protection, this would not be possible,” Trish Jordan, Monsanto Canada’s spokesperson, said in the release.

Along with the settled Quebec cases, Monsanto said it is now “pursuing litigation” with four growers in Ontario, also for patent infringement. The company said it has obtained judgments against Charles Rivett of Cookstown and Ron and Lawrence Janssens and Alan Kerkhof of Wallaceburg.

Unlike the Quebec cases, however, the Ontario cases are locked up in a dispute between Winnipeg-based Monsanto Canada and the four farmers over the amount owed to Monsanto over these “intentional infringements,” the company said.

The amounts due will be the subject of a hearing in Toronto next month before a Federal Court judge, Monsanto said.

“The majority of farmers in Canada understand and appreciate our research and are willing to pay for our inventions and the value they provide. They don’t think it’s fair that some farmers don’t pay,” Jordan said.

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