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Published March 31, 2011, 12:00 AM

Monsanto targeted by ‘preemptive’ lawsuit

LaMOURE, N.D. – A La-Moure-based nonprofit organization has joined dozens of farmers, producers and agricultural businesses from across the world in launching a federal lawsuit against the Monsanto Corp.

LaMOURE, N.D. – A La-Moure-based nonprofit organization has joined dozens of farmers, producers and agricultural businesses from across the world in launching a federal lawsuit against the Monsanto Corp.

Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society said in a statement Wednesday that they and others involved in the lawsuit were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves.

The group fears Monsanto might accuse them of patent infringement, if their agricultural land should ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed.

Monsanto is a Missouri-based agriculture company that has 404 offices worldwide, including in Fargo and West Fargo.

“This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue farmers for patent infringement, if Monsanto’s transgenic seed should land on their property,” said Dan Ravicher, the executive director of the Public Patent Foundation in New York, which is representing Monsanto’s opposition in the suit.

“Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients,” Ravicher said.

The Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society alleges Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds contaminate and destroy organic seeds of the same crop, threatening the existence of organic canola and other crops.

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