While Big Business think tanks and lobbyists try to foster skepticism on climate change one mega-corporation has decided to take the science very seriously. Unfortunately that company is Monsanto and their plan is to expand their monopoly into climate-resilient crops.
Thankfully the agro-industry leviathan has been thwarted in its mission to control all profitable plant life on the planet, for now.
India’s patent appeals board has denied Monsanto a patent for a genetically-engineered method of increasing climate resilience in plants. The decision is significant not only for Monsanto’s loss of possible exclusivity in an increasingly important segment but also for the interpretation of India’s home-grown clauses in patent law — these are unpopular with global companies — for the first time in the case of plants.
The concept of patenting life in general seemingly took a blow with the recent United State Supreme Court decision claiming human genes could not be patented. But SCOTUS also left an opening for future patent seekers by exempting complementary DNA from the ruling. Patenting life has had some limits set on it, but the quest continues. In any case, the Indian patent appeals board was having none of it.
The Intellectual Property Appellate Board, in rejecting the American seed company’s patent claims, said the technology is merely a discovery of a new property of known substance and not an invention under Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act. Section 3(d) is the same Section under which the Swiss drug-maker Novartis’ patent claim for its cancer drug Glivec was rejected. An appeal was turned down by the Supreme Court in April. Developing countries are looking to include this clause in their own patent laws.
Don’t worry, Monsanto will survive.
According to a report by the Washington-based Center for Food Safety, Monsanto had received over $23.5 million from patent infringement lawsuits against farmers and farm business by end of 2012. It also said three agrichemical firms — Monsanto, Du Pont and Syngenta — now control 53% of the global commercial seed market.
Frankenfood shall live on.The incredible influence Monsanto has on the market will continue and there is little doubt the company will connive of new ways to box out its competitors through technical, legal, and political means.
Speaking of Monsanto, whatever happened to that rogue wheat?