Court To Monsanto: You Said You Won't Sue, So You Can't | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Court To Monsanto: You Said You Won't Sue, So You Can't

A federal appeals court slapped down a quixotic legal campaign against Monsanto's biotech patents this week.

Organic farmers had gone to court to declare those patents invalid. The farmers, according to their lawyers, were "forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement" if their field became contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified seed.

Instead, the judges — echoing the ruling of a lower court — told the farmers that they were imagining a threat that doesn't exist.

"There is no justiciable case or controversy," they wrote. Monsanto says that it won't sue anyone for accidentally growing trace amounts of patented crops, and the organic farmers couldn't come up with any cases in which this had happened.

The organic farmers, however, declared partial victory, because the court's decision binds Monsanto to this promise. Up to now, it was just a statement on the company's website. Now, it's enshrined in the legal record.

In fact, according to the judges, since the decision to reject the organic farmers' claims relies explicitly on Monsanto's policy statements, "those representations are binding."

The reason is something called "judicial estoppel" — the common-law principle that someone can't use an argument to win one case and then turn around and argue the opposite in a different case.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

So much of the food we eat these days is encased in plastic. And behind it is a whole lot of research and innovation. We dive into some of the materials that keep food fresh and portable.
NPR

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

So much of the food we eat these days is encased in plastic. And behind it is a whole lot of research and innovation. We dive into some of the materials that keep food fresh and portable.
WAMU 88.5

With Protest Against Congressman, Activists Take A Stand For D.C. Home Rule

This protest was presumably about marijuana decriminalization, but home rule seemed to be the overarching theme.
NPR

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

So much of the food we eat these days is encased in plastic. And behind it is a whole lot of research and innovation. We dive into some of the materials that keep food fresh and portable.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.