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Canadian appeals court upholds Schmeiser patent infringement ruling

(Friday, Sept. 6, 2002 -- CropChoice news) --

Globe and Mail, 09/06/02:
Saskatoon (Canadian Press) The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that Percy Schmeiser of Bruno, Sask., violated a patent held by Monsanto on a herbicide-resistant canola. In March 2001, Schmeiser was ordered to pay $19,000 in damages for using Roundup Ready canola. He was also ordered to cover Monsanto's court costs of $153,000.

Mr. Schmeiser had argued that either Roundup Ready canola seed blew into his field from a passing truck or his crop may have been contaminated by pollination. On Thursday, the three-judge appeal court panel unanimously ruled in Monsanto's favour, dismissing all of Mr. Schmeiser's 17 points of contention.

However, they also rejected a bid by Monsanto to see the damages raised to more than $100,000.

Mr. Schmeiser was not available for comment but his lawyer, Terry Zakreski, was cited as saying his client was disappointed, adding, "We're still reviewing it and considering whether to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada."

Trish Jordan of Monsanto was cited as saying the money Mr. Schmeiser has been ordered to pay will be put into the corporation's fund to reinvest into the agriculture community as part of a larger corporate charity program, adding, "We have always said we will not profit from people doing illegal things."

The stories say that despite his loss in court, Mr. Schmeiser has become somewhat of a folk hero among farm and consumer activists around the world who are opposed to genetically modified foods and their use in agriculture. Some groups from as far away as Australia have paid Mr. Schmeiser to travel to speak to them.

Ms. Jordan was cited as saying she is not surprised that Mr. Schmeiser became a cause to rally around for those opposed to genetically modified foods or biotechnology in agriculture, adding, "Obviously, there's always been people against either GM technology or multi-national corporations or corporate control or patents. I think in this particular case Mr. Schmeiser chose to do it through the wrong avenue. On legal grounds, this case was open and shut."

http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/front/RTGAM/20020906/wmonsanto0906/Front/homeBN/breakingnews