February 4, 2012 - The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) filed suit against Monsanto in March 2011 in an attempt to gain protection for their members from Monsanto's aggressive patent enforcement policy. Now, following oral arguments that took place in late January 2012, they are waiting for a New York judge's decision on whether the case can go forward.
The group, which represents over 300,000 organic farmers, is attempting to shield its members from lawsuits brought by Monsanto over its patented, genetically-modified seed varieties.
"We are family farmers," said Jim Gerritsen, president of OSGATA in a statement to supporters before their hearing. "We’re not asking Monsanto for one penny. We just want justice for our farmers and we want court protection from Monsanto."
At issue: the farmers' allegations that Monsanto sues organic farmers for seed patent infringement if Monsanto's GMO seed lands on their property and takes root. Monsanto insists that it only pursues infringers that planted their seeds intentionally, such as a farmer who saved seeds from one year to the next without permission.
The judge said she will decide by March 31 whether or not to allow the lawsuit.