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Microsoft Seeks Do-Let-The-Bed-Bugs-Bite Patent 176

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-feel-a-slight-pinch dept.
theodp writes "In its just-published patent application for Adapting Parasites to Combat Disease, Microsoft lays out plans to unleash 'altered parasitic organisms' on humans, including mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, leeches, pinworms, tapeworms, hookworms, heart worms, roundworms, lice (head, body, and pubic), and the like. 'Irradiated mosquitoes can be used to deliver damaged Plasmodium to individuals,' explains Microsoft. 'Instead of contracting malaria, an individual receiving the damaged Plasmodium develops an immune response that renders the individual resistant to contracting malaria.' Don't worry about runaway breeding, advises Microsoft — 'a termination feature [that] can include programmed death' makes this impossible. As David Spade might say, I liked this movie the first time I saw it — when it was called Jurassic Park."
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Microsoft Seeks Do-Let-The-Bed-Bugs-Bite Patent

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, 2011 @08:46PM (#34893410)

    Yes it has.

    "In a landmark victory for corporations heavily invested in genetically engineered foods, on March 29 a Canadian judge ruled that farmer Percy Schmeiser of Bruno, Saskatchewan must pay $105,000 to Monsanto for illegally growing the company's genetically engineered rapeseed, from which canola oil is made. But Schmeiser says he never planted Monsanto's seeds. "How can somebody put anything on someone else's land, then claim it's theirs and say, 'We'll take it. We'll sue him. We'll fine him'?" he asks."

    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Food/Bad_Seeds.html

  • by paiute (550198) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:22PM (#34893600)

    Yes it has.

    "In a landmark victory for corporations heavily invested in genetically engineered foods, on March 29 a Canadian judge ruled that farmer Percy Schmeiser of Bruno, Saskatchewan must pay $105,000 to Monsanto for illegally growing the company's genetically engineered rapeseed, from which canola oil is made. But Schmeiser says he never planted Monsanto's seeds. "How can somebody put anything on someone else's land, then claim it's theirs and say, 'We'll take it. We'll sue him. We'll fine him'?" he asks."

    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Food/Bad_Seeds.html

    This is going to become the McDonald's Hot Coffee case of agriculture, I can tell. The facts are that the farmer recognized that some of his crop was contaminated with Monsanto's strain. Instead of complaining then, or suing Monsanto then, he harvested the seed and replanted it widely on his farm. He knew what he was doing. He was hoping it was finders, keepers. The court did not agree.

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:49PM (#34893746) Homepage Journal

    Agreed. He was using Round Up on those crops.. a pesticide that kills unmodified crops, demonstrating that he knew what he was doing.

    It is the use of Round Up on Round Up Ready crops which is what the patent describes and what the farmer was violating.

    If he had been just growing Round Up Ready crops without the use of Round Up he wouldn't have been violating the patent. If he had been just using Round Up to kill weeds then he wouldn't have been violating the patent. It's really simple. The only reason I can understand why people have trouble understanding this is just self induced ignorance.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @10:28PM (#34893958)
    While widely derided, the "McDonald's Hot Coffee" case was nowhere near as ridiculous as people have made it out to be. The woman received 3rd degree burns over 6% of her body. Her immediate medical bills for her needed skin grafts and hospital care (proven later in court) were $11,000.

    She was more than reasonable about it, and initially asked McDonald's for only $20,000 to cover her hospital bills and other expenses. McDonald's flatly refused. Further attempts to negotiate met with nothing but stonewalling. Otherwise, it would never have gone to court. When finally forced to go to court, the judge sent both parties to arbitration in a last attempt to reach agreement. Again, McDonald's completely refused to settle. McDonald's complete refusal to take responsibility is the only reason it ended up in court.

    She was also not awarded $2.9 million, as is often reported. That was the original judgment, but it was later reduced to about 1/10 of that amount, and much of that went to attorney's fees.

    McDonald's was also found to be serving coffee at unsafe temperature, and their coffee is now served 40 degrees F cooler.
  • by Solandri (704621) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @02:31AM (#34895074)

    Agreed. He was using Round Up on those crops.. a pesticide that kills unmodified crops, demonstrating that he knew what he was doing.

    No, he wasn't using Round-Up on those crops. The Court specifically ruled [wikipedia.org] that he didn't have to pay Monsanto any damages because he did not use Round Up on his crops, and therefore did not benefit from using Monsanto's patent without a license. He only noticed it was Round-Up resistant because he sprayed Round-Up in an adjacent ditch to kill weeds which were getting close to his crop. Some Canola which was also growing in the ditch survived the Round-Up. He never used Round-Up on his crop fields.

    It is the use of Round Up on Round Up Ready crops which is what the patent describes and what the farmer was violating.

    No, that was a miscarriage of justice. Monsanto argued that even though Schmeiser had no way of knowing the crop's Round-Up resistance was due to carrying the Monsanto gene, he should have known that was the reason why some of the canola survived being sprayed with Round-Up. The Court bought this argument [fct-cf.gc.ca] hook, line, and sinker:

    "I find that in 1998 Mr. Schmeiser planted canola seed saved from his 1997 crop in his field number 2 which seed he knew or ought to have known was Roundup tolerant, and that seed was the primary source for seeding and for the defendants' crops in all nine fields of canola in 1998."

    That quote from the decision contains a glaring assumption which has since been proven false. The court assumed (accepting Monsanto's argument without question) that the only way for a plant to be resistant to Round-Up was for it to contain Monsanto's patented gene. It has since been shown [slashdot.org] that plants can develop a natural resistance to Round-Up. Therefore, the Court erred in ruling that Mr. Schmeiser "ought to have known" that the plants which resisted Round-Up spraying contained Monsanto's patented gene. In light of the development of Round-Up resistance in weeds, we now know that short of extensive genetic testing, there was no way to Mr. Schmeiser to have known whether the resistance was natural or came from Monsanto's patented gene.

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