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   America Imposing its Patents on Iraq
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   Author  Topic: America Imposing its Patents on Iraq  (Read 5946 times)
Isaac
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Re: America Imposing its Patents on Iraq
« Reply #5 on: Nov 13th, 2004, 4:10pm »
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on Nov 13th, 2004, 11:42am, JimIvey wrote:
This is all raising an interesting issue.  What happens if GM crops are patented and some of the GM genes propagate into other fields, potentially all fields and all crops?  You've got a patented invention that "consumes" other, non-infringing alternatives.  At least it potentially converts non-infringing crops into infringing crops.
 
What happens if the neighbors crops are tested and 10% of the grains have patented genes?  I'm assuming testing all grains individually for completely non-infringing re-planting is prohibitively expensive for the neighboring farm(s).  How 'bout 40%?  50%? 60%? 80%?  If there's a line, where is it?
 
....

 
 
Some of the issues you raise came up in the case of Percy Schmeiser vs. Monsanto that made it all the way to the Canadian Superme Court.    Schmeiser did not end up having to pay Monsanto for having their seed end up on his property, but he was found to have infringed the patent and was required to give up his crop.
 
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Isaac
malbright
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Re: America Imposing its Patents on Iraq
« Reply #6 on: Jan 25th, 2005, 3:04pm »
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on Nov 13th, 2004, 7:26am, Wiscagent wrote:

 
Regarding the referenced article, it perpetuates a fallacy commonly seen in discussions about patents for inventions developed in wealthy nations, especially on pharmaceuticals and plants.  The article gives the impression that it would be illegal for an Iraqi farmer to continue the age-old practice of harvesting grain, setting aside some grain, and planting the saved grain the following season.  This would only be true if the farmer was using a patented variety of grain.  Any variety of grain that was in use more than 20 years ago is not protected by patent.  
 
Richard Tanzer
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Although as of yet not widespread in other countries, companies can and do bring lawsuits against farmers for saving seeds.  Monsanto has brought over 400 lawsuits against individual farmers for patent infringement, the most famous being the Schmeiser case.  And, although the original Supreme Court case understood that patent policy could be applied to genetically manipulated life forms only, recent cases have shown that plants and seeds that are genetically identical to their natural counterparts can and have been patented.  (The genes of such life forms have been "purified," the junk taken out of them, but a rose by any other name...)  Last year, Monsanto briefly held a patent that described the natural (non-genetically modified) wheat variety called Nap Hal.  Similar claims have been made on neem and quinoa.  
 
This should come as no great surprise, and it does not implicate Monsanto or any other agrochemical companies.  Like all companies, they are only fighting for a greater share of their market.  And they are using legal means to do so.  Imagine the market possible if one owned all the agricultural foodstuffs in the world!  And if you owned patents covering all the wheat varieties grown in Iraq, why wouldn't you use it to make a profit?  Why get a patent if you're not interested in enforcing it?  
 
This doesn't seem to me to be a scary futuristic scenario dreamt up by liberals; it seems like business as usual.  The scenario, however, points out possible potholes in our patent system as opposed to corporate greed.  
 
Matthew Albright
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« Last Edit: Jan 25th, 2005, 3:27pm by malbright » IP Logged
Iku
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Re: America Imposing its Patents on Iraq
« Reply #7 on: Dec 21st, 2005, 4:05pm »
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To Matthew Albright:
 
Aside from the basic immorality of patenting a lifeform so you can deny your fellow man the god-given right to grow his own food (and that is a BIG "aside" but for the sake of argument I'll let it go for now), if you take your argument to its logical conclusion then eventually it is possible that your human offspring might accidentally incorporate a "patented" gene in its DNA.  This would mean that you, as a parent, would be in violation of copyright laws, which means that the corporation that owns the patent on the gene would have the right to seize or destroy your own child.
 
Is that really the kind of world you want to live in?
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JimIvey
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Re: America Imposing its Patents on Iraq
« Reply #8 on: Dec 21st, 2005, 8:21pm »
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Of course, if the gene in the child had been in use more than one year prior to any patent application filing to cover the gene, the patent would be invalid.  Patents could only hope to cover genetically modified children/people.  That world is already eerie enough without going into what sorts of injunctive relief might be available.  However, I would expect that certain types of injunctive relief would just not be available under those circumstances.
 
And, as a purely semantic matter, I always find it rather ironic that the label "God-given" is attached to "rights" by mere mortal men and women.  Farmers who don't want to abide by a seed seller's terms can buy seed elsewhere.  If they want free seed to replant the following year, use conventional, natural seed.  Seems pretty simple.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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Isaac
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Re: America Imposing its Patents on Iraq
« Reply #9 on: Dec 21st, 2005, 9:37pm »
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In cases like the Schmeiser case it just isn't as simple as just don't use the patented seed.  The patented stuff gets into everywhere and since infringement does not require any particular intent or mens rea, people who may have taken no steps to plant or exploit the properties of patented herbicide resistant seeds might end up losing their entire crops due to contamination.   Apparently the wind, bees, etc. just don't give a hoot about patent law.
 
Unfortunately I don't see a way to fix the problem without creating a huge loophole that basically guts Monsantos patent rights.
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Isaac
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