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Monsanto May Have To Repay 10 Years of GM Soya Royalties In Brazil 377

Posted by Soulskill
from the bean-counters dept.
scibri writes "Biotech giant Monsanto is one step closer to losing billions of dollars in revenues from its genetically-modified Roundup Ready soya beans, after the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled the company must repay royalties collected over the past decade. Since GM crops were legalized in 2005, Monsanto has charged Brazilian farmers royalties of 2% on their sales of Roundup Ready soya beans. The company also tests Brazilian soya beans that are sold as non-GM — if they turn out to be Roundup Ready, the company charges the farmers 3%. Farmers challenged this as an unjust tax on their business. In April a regional court ruled against Monsanto, though that ruling has been put on hold pending an appeal. The Supreme Court, meanwhile has said that whatever the final ruling is, it will apply throughout the whole country."
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Monsanto May Have To Repay 10 Years of GM Soya Royalties In Brazil

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  • by Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) on Friday June 15, 2012 @01:57PM (#40337275)
    It's nice to see somebody standing up to Monsanto. Never has one company been so close to totally controlling the food supply for the entire planet. Their abusive practices with farmers both home and abroad have been well documented, and yet our elected leaders turn a blind eye.
  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Friday June 15, 2012 @01:59PM (#40337293)
    If Monsanto can't find a way to make money on their product without special government intervention like this, their business model is broken. The point where they make money should be (only) when they sell their product to a farmer. All this bribery and whatnot to get special laws or to abuse existing laws to prop up their business model is nonsense.

    And I'm not even against GM foods, I find most of those people to be clueless Luddites. I'm just against their corrupt business model enabled by corrupt governments.

  • Pros of Monsanto? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by s1d3track3D (1504503) on Friday June 15, 2012 @02:23PM (#40337503)
    So from everything I've heard and read about Monsanto, it is the epitome of evil and functions with impunity here in the US. That Brazil would be the stand up (and win) against them is very inspiring and should set an example.

    However to play devil's advocate, are there any benefits to a company such as Monsanto?
  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Friday June 15, 2012 @02:23PM (#40337505)
    I don't often agree with you, cpu6502, actually close to never. But when it comes to Monsanto, I wholeheartedly do. And I happen to be a biochemist working in a patent law firm....
  • by Bigby (659157) on Friday June 15, 2012 @02:41PM (#40337767)

    Mod parent up! A farmer can't help it if his field is being polluted by Monsanto's seed...even if it might be financially beneficial. If a coal mine created a pile of coal and the pile started spilling over into my property, then there are 3 options:

    1. The coal mining company sues me for having their coal on my property (at no fault of my own)
    2. I sue the coal mining company for putting their coal on my property
    3. We call it a truce, and I just keep and sell the coal on my property

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Friday June 15, 2012 @02:45PM (#40337831) Homepage Journal

    Monsanto designed these seeds to be sterile

    IMO, that qualifies as a crime against humanity.

    This one example should end forever any discussion of the benefit from an unregulated free market. And no, regulations that are written by the companies being regulated do not qualify.

  • by WilliamBaughman (1312511) on Friday June 15, 2012 @03:00PM (#40338045)

    I generally think of Monsanto as evil. The power that Monsanto has over large portions of the global food supply frightens me. That said, the "Roundup Ready" gene is really useful to farmers. People complain about Monsanto's use of terminator seeds, patents, lawsuits, etc. only because it is so difficult to compete without using Monsanto's products. Otherwise, no would care.

    Soya beans and civilization in Brazil are both older than Monsanto. The Brazilian state could have banned the import, distribution, and cultivation of GMOs - but it did not. And Brazilian farmers could have used their existing seeds, but they did not. They used the piper's awesome seeds. Given what I know about Brazilian politics and trade practices, and human nature, I suspect this case is rooted more in the desire not to pay that piper than in actual law.

  • by Golddess (1361003) on Friday June 15, 2012 @03:05PM (#40338121)
    So let me get this straight.

    If the uncontrollable wind blows some Monsanto pollen on your field, you are innocent.

    But if uncontrollable bees transfer pollen from a Monsanto field to your field, then you are "knowingly [using] seeds with the Monsanto gene in them without paying"?
  • by sarysa (1089739) on Friday June 15, 2012 @03:24PM (#40338295)
    I think AC's do. You guys must just be pretty damn underbudgeted to botch the job this badly.

    Here's the REAL way to do the PR game:
    1. Each shill makes about 20 accounts or so at the same time. It takes awhile -- you'll have to source accounts from multiple sources most likely. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail...though at least you only need to make those once. Since our account IDs here are numerical, maybe each person makes their accounts a couple days apart from each other.
    2. Whenever a shill topic comes up, use one -- maybe two of those accounts at most. Think of them as disposable -- obviously we can see your history.
    3. Don't come on so strong for your cause. You have to see the overwhelmingly prevailing point of view and even fire a couple rounds against your side before you can be trusted. It's kind of like deep undercover cops who infiltrate the mafia -- they have to straddle the line for awhile.
    4. Once you've done this, SLOWLY bring the conversation in a direction that is more favorable for your organization. Don't be all "you're all wrong, FU." That won't work.

    That's all there is to it. Good luck and happy shilling.

    p.s. Where y'all went wrong is that most people here essentially think patenting our food supply that is so easily distributed by accident and enforcing it the way Monsanto does is inherently evil. It's essentially a "gotcha" for a CRITICAL and underpaid sector of society. We don't give a flying fuck what the legal argument is -- we want to fix the law.
  • by quarkscat (697644) on Friday June 15, 2012 @03:34PM (#40338397)

    Stop bitching about Monsanto and fix the law.

    Even better solution is to "fix" the Monsanto corporate board, permanently, like a gelding.

    Were you aware that the lunchrooms of Monsanto facilities explicitly prohibit GMO foods for their employees, and at the insistence of those employees? Why are Monsanto employees treated better than USA citizens? Could it be that if USA citizens were informed of the GMO origins of many of their foodstuffs, that they would knowingly & willfully boycott those products?

  • by Solandri (704621) on Friday June 15, 2012 @03:40PM (#40338455)
    What needs to happen is for someone to patent some innocuous plant gene, let it spread throughout the world, then sue everyone. The sheer stupidity of suing people for nature running its course will then become apparent, and we'll get some court precedents established which lay waste to Monsanto's patent licensing model.
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday June 15, 2012 @03:58PM (#40338643) Homepage Journal

    Then they send-round the lawyers to *invade* the man's property, confirm such a machine exists, and start issuing cease-and-desist letters (presumption of guilt just because he saves his seed).

    How does that even work? I recently moved from a farming state, and I say with very little exaggeration: a corporate employee found invading a farmer's privacy like that would likely never be seen again. If parts of them were later recovered, it would almost certainly be chalked up to 1) a farming accident, 2) wildlife attack, or 3) self-defense as circumstances direct.

    I'm not talking about the stereotypical backwoods hillbillies who are protectin' their still from the revenuers, either. I know a guy who's in the process of rolling out GPS-enabled, self-driving tractors that can automatically adjust the amount of fertilizer they spray depending on what the latest satellite pictures show that a particular patch of field needs. One of my coworkers would routinely call me on his cell phone from the cab of his air-conditioned tractor when he got bored with watching TV. A modern farm is a surprisingly high-tech operation, often steered by college graduates who work other highly technical jobs during the winter months. With all that said, though, these guys are extremely protective of their farms, their families, and their livelihoods. I'll be damned if I'd want to get caught sneaking around on their property. How do Monsanto employees manage to do stuff like that without dying of acute lead poisoning?

  • by lilfields (961485) on Friday June 15, 2012 @03:58PM (#40338649) Homepage
    Monsanto is a subject that has so much hyperbole on both sides (usually those against GMOs), calling the Monsanto pollen a "contaminant" is way overboard and doesn't make much sense at all. Saying Monsanto doesn't attack small farmers is a bit of a stretch, but all companies abuse copyright/patent laws. Just loosen up the laws, reform copyright, patents, licensing, etc. This is not as easy as "it's a contaminant!, let farmers sue!" (and wouldn't they sue the -other- farmer anyhow? Not Monsanto?) Instead it a genuine problem across the spectrum of commerce. From Apple, Motorola, Microsoft and yes, Monsanto. Intellectual property rights are a relatively new idea, and it's going to take decades for it to be sorted out to be more optimal.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Friday June 15, 2012 @04:10PM (#40338761) Journal

    Which is why these patents scare the fuck out of me. Am I the only one that is more than a little worried that these GMOs are basically handing over control of the food supply to a single corporation? its bad enough when patents stifle innovations but we are talking about the fricking food supply folks, its not like you can just eat dirt. Since its already been proven that GMOs can contaminate nearby crops this lets them have a nice racket, where you either pay them to use their "product" or your field gets contaminated by theirs...and you pay them MORE. Does anybody else find that more than a little fucking disturbing? I mean if I dump shit in my neighbor's yard I can't force them to pay me for the privilege, so why can Monsanto do the same thing by patenting the shit?

    Finally a little weird possibly but...does anyone else look at the nasty shit Monsanto pulls and gets reminded of that scene in "Damien: Omen II" where the head of genetics at Thorn is bragging about how with control of the food supply thanks to GMOs they can pretty much call the shots? Not saying Monsanto is the debil but the way they've got GMOs rolling it does strike me that they are climbing past Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, and Blackwater on the "Holy shit, that's fucked up" scale of corporate nastiness. I mean its pretty bad when a lot of your current gameplan seems like its nicked from a movie about the rise of the fricking antichrist.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday June 15, 2012 @04:34PM (#40339081) Homepage

    Suppose a company creates a way to insert a gene into a human egg, perhaps to imbue some immunity to a disease or correct for a genetic defect. Under the current law, the company could patent their new gene. Add according to Monsanto, that person's children would be using the company's gene and would have to pay a royalty for their own existence.

  • by akboss (823334) <akboss@suddenlGA ... t minus math_god> on Friday June 15, 2012 @05:03PM (#40339361)
    How about the court case?? http://scc.lexum.org/en/2004/2004scc34/2004scc34.pdf [lexum.org] (yes I know more reading)

    Accordingly, the cultivation of plants containing the patented gene and cell does not constitute an infringement. The plants containing the patented gene can have no stand-by value. To conclude otherwise would, in effect, confer patent protection on the plant. Since there is no claim for a “glyphosate-resistant” plant and all its offspring, saving, planting, or selling seed from glyphosate-resistant plants does not constitute an infringing use. As was done here, the respondents can still license the sale of seeds that they produce from their patented invention and can impose contractual obligations, such as prohibition on saving seeds, on the licensee.

  • by kenrblan (1388237) on Friday June 15, 2012 @05:54PM (#40339859)
    The better plan would be to patent a gene on a specific crop that Monsanto also produces. Buy land adjacent to one of their production farms and grow your GM version of the plant. When your modified gene shows up in the seed sold by Monsanto, you sue them extra hard.

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