A lawyer for Monsanto Canada says even if a farmer unknowingly grew
Roundup Ready canola that drifted onto his land, that person would
technically be violating the company’s patent.
Roger Hughes told three Federal Court of Appeal justices that, “Yes,
technically he’s infringing under those circumstances.”
But he said Monsanto has publicly stated that it only protects its
patent in situations where it believes there has been a deliberate
violation of its intellectual property – such as the Percy Schmeiser
Hughes was responding to a hypothetical question raised by one of the
three judges hearing an appeal of a 2001 Federal Court of Canada
decision that found Schmeiser guilty of infringing Monsanto’s patent on
Roundup Ready canola.
The judges were clearly surprised by Hughes’ assertion that a farmer
could unknowingly break Monsanto’s patent through circumstances beyond
“That’s a tough one, Mr. Hughes, I have to tell you,” said judge Julius
Hughes reiterated his point that in “99.9 percent” of reported
violations, Monsanto works out some kind of mutually agreeable
arrangement with farmers who find Roundup Ready canola on their land.
It is only when a farmer is suspected of deliberately violating the
patent that Monsanto pursues legal action.