Awareness talk on
Controversial issues in Patents
(For biz ad students going for
Patenting life: Havard Oncomouse case…
Patenting stem cells: using embryos…
Patenting genetically modified foods for human
Loss of sovereignty in countries over their own
laws due to over-riding patent treaties.
1994, Calgene released the first GMO tomato,
designed to stay ripe on the vine longer without
getting squishy. The product flopped.
Since then Monsanto has patented GE corn, soy
bean, cotton, and canola.
Monsanto produces Roundup, an Agent
Orange containing herbicide.
Monsanto produces GE crops which are
Roundup resistant to improve planting yield.
Aggressive use of herbicide leads to
Controversy over the safety of the crops
Further controversy due to patented status of
the GE seeds:
Farmers cannot replant the seeds they harvested.
Farmers must buy new seed from Monsanto every
But pollens of GE crops spread uncontrollably!
Monsanto began to aggressively sue
farmers in the USA and Canada, when
pollen of GE crops spread onto non GE
crops of these farmers.
Percy Schmeiser vs Monsanto
Monsanto: it was deliberate theft and
we want damages $$$.
Schmeiser : pollen from neighbouring
fields adulterated his plants.
It got so bad that the farmers had to sue Monsanto to stop suing
them for trace contamination of GE plants. Abuse of patent?
“If Monsanto can patent seeds for financial gain, they should be
forced to pay for contaminating a farmer’s field, not be allowed
to sue them,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director
of Food Democracy Now!
But the farmers lost the case in Mon Jan 13, 2014. Monsanto
retains right to sue farmers for trivial traces of GE crops in their
Monsanto’s argument for benefit of GE crops:
Solves worldwide hunger.
Must recoup investment.
Unfair to be sued due to natural spread GE pollen from
Right of farmers to replant their own seeds.
Activists: environmental destruction, emerging proof that GE
foods cause cancer in mice.
Monsanto also introduced GE cotton to India, Africa, and so on.
Monsanto began selling Bt cotton in India in 2004, after a U.S.
challenge at the WTO forced India to adopt seed patenting
Farmers in India who planted the GE cotton could not pay for
new seeds for the year after if the field was bad.
But they had pledged their land to get the seeds!!
Original cotton seeds have been completely replaced and the
farmers cannot go back to original seeds.
Every 15 minutes one Indian farmer will take his own life in
Even Prince Charles is involved now….
Prince Charles claimed thousands of Indian farmers were killing
themselves after using GM crops.
Even the Philippines farmers are now up in
95% of soy is GE, including soy protein, soy
milk, soy sauce, tofu.
The patent spree is on: GE wheat, GE rice and
GE Salmon, to be ready soon.
More big companies doing it: Monsanto, Dow
Chemical, Bayer, Syngenta, Dupont, and BASF.
But they do not want GMO food labelled.
Top 7 GM food according to The Huffington Post
1. Corn: No. 1 crop grown in the U.S. 88 percent -- is genetically
2. Soy: 93 percent of soy is genetically modified.
3. Cottonseed: According to the USDA, 94 percent of cotton
grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
4. Alfalfa: dunno
5. Papaya: 75 percent of the Hawaiian papaya crop is
6. Canola: About 90 percent of the U.S. canola crop is
7. Sugar Beets: 90 percent of the crop.
Without the monopoly power of patents, this would not have
Is the power too strong?
Has there been abuse?
Or was it rightfully used?
Germany, Ireland, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg and
Bulgaria, France, Madeira, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand
Mexico October 2013, ban the planting of all GM maize.
Japan Japanese law bans the growing of GMO. But JP food
manufacturers import GM canola, which is now found growing
India After the disaster with 2007-08 crop of cotton. In 2010, the
government instituted a ban on GMO eggplant due to this
Thailand GM papayas began to contaminate other cropland in
field trials, Thailand has been working to reduce their use of GM