Last week the US Justice Department (DOJ) gave the green light for Monsanto's $1.5 billion takeover of the world's largest cotton seed company, Delta & Pine Land (D&PL) -- the company that has long vowed to commercialize Terminator seeds (more on that below). The so-called "anti-trust" regulators approved the deal with a number of conditions. For instance, Monsanto must sell Stoneville, one of its largest cotton seed holdings, to multinational Bayer. The company must also agree to license its biotech traits to major competitors like Syngenta and Dupont.
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In the last few years it would have been fair to "blame Canada" for trying to overturn the international moratorium on terminator seeds. Thankfully if a new initiative in Ottawa suceeds the Canadian government may be forced to change its tune.
A bill to prohibit field testing and commercialization of Terminator seed technology was introduced in the Canadian Parliament today by the Agriculture critic (ie spokesperson) for the NDP party.
The Galápagos National Park (entity in charge of managing and administering the two protected areas of the Galápagos Archipelago), is concerned with the US Company Planktos and its plans to experiment in waters near the Galápagos Marine Reserve. For this reason the park has been examining data to stop the Planktos experiment, which could affect the fragile ecosystems of the Galápagos Islands, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Further reflections on EPO's May 3 decision to revoke Monsanto's species-wide soybean patent
ETC Group has been receiving lots of emails and phone calls in the past few days about the defeat of Monsanto's soybean patent one week ago. While most have been congratulatory a few have asked whether this wasn't in fact a hollow victory since the patent challenge was won on technical merits rather than fundamental principles of morality. Will it even affect Monsanto's patent portfolio? One US activist asked:
In the midst of our new fight over geoengineering near the Galapagos, we've got good news over a very old fight with Monsanto... Hope Shand just phoned from Munich to say that the European Patent Office has agreed with ETC's arguments and overturned Monsanto's soybean "species" patent. There is no further appeal!!
As the UN's top climate science panel, the IPCC, prepares to criticise the idea of geoengineering, one maverick geoengineering company, Planktos Inc, has announced it is about to dump several tonnes of tiny particles into the waters around the Galapagos Islands, covering an area larger than Puerto Rico. Doing so, they claim, will re-engineer the atmosphere, win them commercial carbon credits and perhaps a shot at the $25 million prize for greenhouse gas reduction put up by Richard Branson. Mainstream scientists are sceptical and environmental and social justice groups are crying foul.
Munich – The European Patent Office put the brakes on Monsanto’s over-the-top corporate greed by revoking its species-wide patent on all genetically modified soybeans (EP0301749) – a patent unprecedented in its broad scope. ETC Group, an international civil society organization based in Canada, won its 13-year legal challenge against Monsanto’s species-wide soybean patent when an EPO appeal board ruled that the patent was not new or sufficient (i.e., the invention claimed was not sufficiently described for a skilled person to repeat it). The patent challenge was supported by Greenpeace and “No Patents on Life!” Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher of UK-based EcoNexus also joined the opposition team in Munich as a scientific expert.
In a couple of days Hope Shand from ETC Group will be in court in the European patent Office to challenge Monsanto's Patent on Soy beans - a patent that we have been contesting for 13 years and that originally Monsanto themselves opposed!! You can read more about that here. In the meantime, ETC Group is releasing its new ranking of the world's top 10 seed companies, based on 2006 seed revenues. The list appears below.
On 3 May 2007 ETC Group (a Canadian-based international civil society organization - formerly known as RAFI) together with "No Patents on Life!" and Greenpeace will continue a 13-year legal battle against one of biotech's most notorious patents. At an appeal hearing at the European Patent Office in Munich, civil society organizations will argue that Monsanto's patent (European Patent No. 301-749) on all genetically engineered soybeans - unprecedented in its broad scope - must be revoked. "No patent symbolizes the brokenness of the patent system better than Monsanto's species-wide patent on genetically engineered soybeans," said Hope Shand of ETC Group. "Monsanto's patent is both technically flawed and morally unacceptable," said Shand.