Schmeiser Claims Moral and Personal Victory in Supreme Court Decision
The Supreme Court handed down their decision yesterday
and I have mixed emotions to it. I have received many phone calls and
emails from concerned supporters and friends and I appreciate this very
much. It was a personal victory and I want to thank my lawyer Terry Zakreski
for his dedication and perseverance on my behalf. On the broader issues
of my case, I regret that things did not work out for my supporters.
I do not have to pay Monsanto one cent for profits, damages,
penalties, court costs or their technology use fee of $15/acre. I feel
good about this ruling, as I have said all along that I didn't take advantage
or profit from Monsanto's technology in my fields. I am pleased that the
Supreme Court felt that way as well. It has been my position that I didn't
want their technology in my fields, that I didn't use their technology
by spraying, didn't sell their technology as seed to another farmer and
didn't earn any profit from it. I felt it hard to accept that I should
have to pay them for it.
I believe that Monsanto will have a hard time in pursuing
patent infringement against other farmers. They are now going to have
to prove that a farmer profited from having RR canola in their field.
The Court noted that my profits were the same whether I had conventional
canola or RR canola, so I find it hard to see how Monsanto can say in
any future case that the farmer made more money because of their product.
This decision may have removed the "teeth" from their patent.
I also believe that Monsanto will face huge liability
issues down the road. The Court determined that they have ownership to
the plant and that I infringed by having it in my field. With ownership
comes responsibility and I assume more lawsuits will be filed against
them for the contamination of farmer's fields. I was always concerned
about this lack of responsibility that Monsanto took for the unconfined
release of RR canola in western Canada. I think the Court's decision will
force them to be held accountable for it now.
On the bigger issue of whether or not their patent was
valid, the Court ruled that it is, and we have to accept that judgment.
For this to be changed our Parliament will have to act. We have a conflict
between plants breeder's rights and patent law and the government will
have to sort that out. All I did was save my seed from year to year. Now
it is clear that a company's patent will take precedence over the rights
of farmer's to save and reuse their seed.
Farmers should be concerned about this judgment as they
now may lose their ability to continue with this practice. I believe that
this ruling is an injustice and Parliament must act to ensure that farmer's
rights are protected. The playing field between farmer rights and the
bio-tech companies rights has been tilted towards the companies with this
I have always campaigned on the right of a farmer to save
and re-use his own seed. This is what I have been doing for the last 50
years. I will continue to support any efforts to strengthen the rights
of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed.
In the near future, I plan on spending more time with
my wife, children, grandchildren and friends. They have been very supportive
of my efforts and I want to thank them for it. I could not have done this
without them. I also wish to thank the countless supporters that I had.
I have met many people, groups and organizations that gave me personal,
moral and financial support. I won't name them all at the risk of forgetting
someone. I still have legal bills to pay and I am grateful to all for
any past and future contributions.
Louise and I have made many friends and acquaintances
in this crusade and we will cherish those memories and friendships forever.