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Monsanto

In: Business and Management

Submitted By busterhank23
Words 3500
Pages 14
Litigation
As plaintiff
Since the mid1990s, Monsanto indicates that it has sued 145 individual U.S. farmers for patent infringement and/or breach of contract in connection with its genetically engineered seed.[130] The Center for Food Safety has listed 112 lawsuits by Monsanto against farmers for claims of seed patent violations.[131] The usual claim involves violation of a technology agreement that prohibits farmers from saving seed from one season's crop to plant the next, a common farming practice.[132] One farmer received an eight-month prison sentence for conspiracy to commit fraud during litigation with Monsanto[133] in addition to having to pay damages.[134]
Monsanto sued the Pilot Grove Cooperative Elevator in Pilot Grove, Missouri, on the grounds that by cleaning harvested seeds covered by Monsanto's patents so that farmers could replant them, the elevator was inducing them to infringe Monsanto's patents. The Pilot Grove Cooperative Elevator had been cleaning conventional seeds for decades before the development of genetic engineering and developments in patent law led to the existence of issued patents that cover seeds.[135]
In one case in 2002, Monsanto mistakenly sued Gary Rinehart of Eagleville, Missouri for patent violation. Rinehart was not a farmer or seed dealer, but sharecropped land with his brother and nephew, who were violating the patent. Monsanto dropped the lawsuit against him when it discovered the mistake.[135]
In 1997 Percy Schmeiser discovered that canola growing on his farm was Roundup resistant. He had initially discovered that some canola growing by a roadside along one of his fields was Roundup resistant when he was killing weeds along the road; this led him to spray a 3- to 4acre section of his adjacent field and 60% of the canola survived. Schmeiser harvested the seed from the surviving, Roundup resistant plants, and planted the seed in 1998. Monsanto sued Schmeiser for patent infringement for the 1998 planting. Schmeiser claimed that because the 1997 plants grew from seed that was blown into his field from neighboring fields, that he owned the harvest and was entitled to do with it whatever he wished, including saving the seeds from the 1997 harvest and planting them in 1998. The initial Canadian Federal Court rejected Schmeiser's defense and held for Monsanto, finding that in 1998 Schmeiser had intentionally planted the seeds he had harvested from the wind-seeded crops in 1997, and so patent infringement had indeed occurred.[136] Schmeiser appealed and lost again.[137] Schmeiser appealed to the Supreme Court which took the case and held for Monsanto by a 54 vote in late May 2004.[117] With this ruling, the Canadian courts followed the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision on patent issues involving plants and genes. Schmeiser won a partial victory, as the Supreme Court reversed on damages, finding that because Schmeiser did not gain any profit from the infringement, he did not owe Monsanto any damages nor did he have to pay Monsanto's substantial legal bills. The case caused Monsanto's enforcement tactics to be highlighted in the media over the years it took to play out.[138] The case is widely cited or referenced by the anti-GM community in the context of a fear of a company claiming ownership of a farmer’s crop based on the inadvertent presence of GM pollen grain or seed.[139][140] "The court record shows, however, that it was not just a few seeds from a passing truck, but that Mr Schmeiser was growing a crop of 95–98% pure Roundup Ready plants, a commercial level of purity far higher than one would expect from inadvertent or accidental presence. The judge could not account for how a few wayward seeds or pollen grains could come to dominate hundreds of acres without Mr Schmeiser’s active participation, saying ‘. . .none of the suggested sources could reasonably explain the concentration or extent of Roundup Ready canola of a commercial quality evident from the results of tests on Schmeiser’s crop’" - in other words, the original presence of Monsanto seed on his land in 1997 was indeed inadvertent, but the crop in 1998 was entirely purposeful.[141]
In 2007 Monsanto sued Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman,[142] who in 1999 bought seed for his second planting from a grain elevator - the same elevator that he and others sold their transgenic crops to. The elevator sold the soybeans as commodities, not as seeds for planting.[142][143]). He tested the new seeds, and found that as he had expected, some were resistant to glyphosate. He replanted his harvest in subsequent years for his second seasonal planting, supplementing them with more soybeans he bought at the elevator.[142] He informed Monsanto of his activities.[142] Monsanto stated that he was infringing their patents because the soybeans he bought from the elevator were new products that he purchased for use as seeds without a license from Monsanto; Bowman stated that he had not infringed due to patent exhaustion on the first sale of seed to whatever farmers had produced the crops that he bought from the elevator, on the grounds that for seed, all future generations are embodied in the first generation that was originally sold.[143] In 2009 the district court ruled in favor of Monsanto; on appeal, the Federal Circuit upheld the verdict.[142] Bowman has appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which accepted the case on 5 October 2012.[144] If the Supreme Court reverses the judgement, it would also affect other self-replicating technologies (such as DNA and cell lines) used by the biotechnology industry; patent infringement could potentially be avoided by growing or otherwise duplicating the patented articles.[145]
In 2009 Monsanto sued Dupont for patent infringement of Roundup Ready patents.[146] Dupont had licensed the patents from Monsanto already, but had added additional glyphosphate-resistance genes to its seed, which Monsanto claimed was not allowed in the license. Dupont counter-sued, claiming that Monsanto's patent was invalid. The jury handed down a verdict on 1 August 2012, finding that Dupont not only infringed, but willfully infringed, and awarded a verdict of $1 billion, the fourth-largest patent verdict in the history of the United States.[147] Dupont indicated it would appeal the decision.
As defendant
In 2006 the Public Patent Foundation filed requests with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to revoke four patents that Monsanto has used in patent lawsuits against farmers, namely U.S. Patents Nos. 5,164,316, 5,196,525, 5,322,938, and 5,352,605. In the first round of reexamination, some claims in all four patents were rejected by the Patent Office in four separate rulings dating from February through July 2007.[148]
On 30 March 2011 the Public Patent Foundation filed claims in federal U.S. district court in Manhattan, challenging the validity of 23 of Monsanto's patents on genetically modified seed, on behalf of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and 82 other farming associations.[149] The group contended that they were being forced to sue pre-emptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should their fields ever become contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified seed.[150] On 24 February, District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald dismissed the lawsuit and in her ruling criticized the plaintiffs for a "transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists."[151][152] Plaintiffs plan to appeal the decision.[153][154]
In February 2012, two NGOs, Navdanya and No Patent on Seeds, filed documents opposing an EU patent awarded to Monsanto covering virus resistant traits of melons.[155] Monsanto had acquired DeRuiter, a seed company, in 2008, which originally filed the patent application.[156] The activists claim it was not an invention of Monsanto but rather bio-piracy, because the virus-resistant plants originated in India and were registered in international seed banks; they further claimed that conventional breeding methods were used to transfer the virus resistance genes from an Indian melon to other melons and that European law prohibits patents on conventional breeding.[14]
Other legal actions in North America
As defendant
In a case that ran from February 1984 through October 1987, Monsanto was the defendant in the longest civil jury trial in U.S. history, Kemner v. Monsanto. The case involved a group of plaintiffs who claimed to have been poisoned by dioxin in 1979 when a train derailed in Sturgeon, Missouri. Tank cars on the train carried a chemical used to make wood preservatives and "small quantities of a dioxin called 2, 3, 7, 8, TCDD... formed as a part of the manufacturing process."[157] The initial outcome was mixed. "The jurors, after deliberating more than two months, agreed with Monsanto that the plaintiffs had suffered no physical harm from exposure to dioxin. But they accepted the plaintiffs' argument that Monsanto had failed to alter its manufacturing process to eliminate dioxin as a byproduct and that it had failed to warn the public about dioxin's harmfulness. Most of the plaintiffs were awarded only one dollar each for actual losses, but they were awarded $16.2 million in punitive damages."[158] Monsanto appealed the judgements and won on all counts.[157]
In the early 1990s Monsanto faced several lawsuits over harm caused by PCBs from workers at companies such as Westinghouse that bought PCBs from Monsanto and used them to build electrical equipment.[159] Monsanto and its customers, such as Westinghouse and GE also faced litigation from third parties, such as workers at scrapyards that bought used electrical equipment and broke them down to reclaim valuable metals.[160][161] Monsanto settled some of these cases and won the others, on the grounds that it had clearly told its customers that PCBs were dangerous chemicals and that protective procedures needed to implemented.
In 2000, Great Lakes Chemical Corporation (GLC) sued Monsanto for the $71 million shortfall in expected sales. In 1999, Monsanto had sold GLC a business unit, NSC Technologies, for approximately $125 million in cash; NSC Technologies developed, manufactured and sold chiral pharmaceutical intermediates and select bulk actives to pharmaceutical companies, including the key ingredient of aspartame.[162][163] When sales did not meet projections, GLC sued Monsanto under federal securities laws.[164] The federal case was dismissed. GLC then sued Monsanto under Delaware state law.[165][166] The outcome of this case is not known.
In 2003, Monsanto reached a $300 million settlement with people in Alabama affected by the manufacturing and dumping of the toxic chemical polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).[167]
In 2004 Monsanto was sued in a US court by a group of Vietnamese, along with Dow and other chemical companies for the effects of its Agent Orange defoliant, used by the US military in the Vietnam War.[168][169] The case was dismissed, and plaintiffs appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which also denied the appeal.
In 2004, the world's largest agrichemical company, Switzerland's Syngenta, launched a US lawsuit charging Monsanto with using coercive tactics to monopolize markets.[170] A flurry of litigation ensued, all of which was settled in 2008.[171]
In 2005, the US DOJ filed a Deferred Prosecution Agreement[172] in which Monsanto admitted to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1) and making false entries into its books and records (15 U.S.C § 78m(b)(2) & (5)). Monsanto also agreed to pay a $1.5m fine. The case involved bribes paid to an Indonesian official.[173] Monsanto admitted a senior manager at Monsanto directed an Indonesian consulting firm to give a $50,000 bribe to a high-level official in Indonesia's environment ministry in 2002 related to the agency's assessment on its genetically modified cotton. Monsanto told the company to disguise an invoice for the bribe as "consulting fees". Monsanto also has admitted to paying bribes to a number of other high-ranking Indonesian officials between 1997 and 2002. On 5 March 2008 the deferred prosecution agreement against Monsanto was dismissed with prejudice (unopposed by the Department of Justice) by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, thereby indicating that Monsanto had complied fully with the terms of the agreement.
In late 2006, the Correctional Tribunal of Carcassonne, France, ordered two directors of Monsanto subsidiary Asgrow to pay a €15,000 fine related to their knowledge of the presence of unauthorized GMOs in bags of seeds imported by Asgrow on 13 April 2000.[174]
Monsanto was the subject of an investigation by the Environmental Agency of the UK regarding pollution caused by disposal of PCBs and other toxic waste at Brofiscin Quarry, Groes Faen. In February 2011, the Guardian reported that Monsanto had agreed to help with the costs of remediation, but did not accept responsibility for the pollution.[175] A webpage at the Environmental Agency site put up at around that time states: "We have completed our extensive enquiries to identify those we consider should be held responsible under the contaminated land laws and be held liable for the cost of remediating Brofiscin Quarry. We are at an advanced stage in our consultations with BP, Veolia and Monsanto to provide them with the opportunity to help remediate the land on a voluntary basis. We expect to make further progress on this matter in the next few months. If this approach is unsuccessful, we have the power to carry out the work needed ourselves and recover our costs. The three companies have been identified under the legislation as inheriting the liabilities of companies who were associated with depositing wastes at the quarry."[176]
As plaintiff or appellant
In 2003, Monsanto sued Oakhurst Dairy over Oakhurst's label on its milk cartons that said "Our farmer's pledge: no artificial hormones," referring to the use of bovine somatotropin (rBST).[177] Monsanto argued that the label implied that Oakhurst milk was superior to milk from cows treated with rBST, which harmed Monsanto's business.[177] The two companies settled out of court, and it was announced that Oakhurst would add the word "used" at the end of its label, and note that the US FDA claims there is no major difference between milk from rBST-treated and non rBST-treated cows.[178]
On January 23, 2008 the Center for Food Safety, the Sierra Club, and the Organic Seed Alliance and High Mowing Seeds filed a lawsuit against USDA-APHIS regarding their decision to deregulate a glyphosate-resistant sugar beet developed by Monsanto and KWS SAAT AG in 2005. The organizations expressed concerns regarding glyphosate-resistant sugar beets' ability to potentially cross pollinate with conventional sugar beet.[179] On September 21, 2009 U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, ruled that USDA-APHIS had violated Federal law in deregulating glyphosate-resistant sugar beet[179] and on August 13, 2010 he ruled further, revoking the deregulation of glyphosate-resistant sugar beet and declaring it unlawful for growers to plant glyphosate-resistant sugar beet in the spring of 2011. As a result of this ruling, growers were permitted to harvest and process their crop at the end of the 2010 growing season, yet a ban on new plantings was enacted. After Judge White's ruling, USDA-APHIS prepared an Environmental Assessment seeking partial deregulation of glyphosate-resistant sugar beet and allowed GM seedlings to be planted.[180] In November 2010, in response to a suit by the original parties, Judge White ordered the destruction of the plantings.[181] In February 2011, a federal appeals court for the Northern district of California in San Francisco overturned the ruling, concluding that "The Plaintiffs have failed to show a likelihood of irreparable injury. Biology, geography, field experience, and permit restrictions make irreparable injury unlikely."[182] APHIS developed requirements that growers must follow if handling glyphosate-resistant sugar beet. In July 2012, after completing an Environmental Impact Assessment and a Plant Pest Risk Assessment the USDA deregulated Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets.[183]
In 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in case known as Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms.[184] The case concerned an injunction against the planting of Monsanto's gentically engineered Roundup Ready alfalfa (RRA).[185] In 2005 the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had deregulated RRA based on an Environmental Assessment (EA) of Monsanto's RRA.[186] In 2006, Geertson Seed Farm and others filed suit in a a California district court against the APHIS' deregulation of RRA.[187] The district court disallowed APHIS' deregulation of RRA and issued an injunction against any new planting of RRA pending the preparation of a much more extensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).[188] The court also refused to allow a partial deregulation.[184] Monsanto and others appealed that decision and lost,[189] then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2010 the Supreme Court reversed the district court's decision. They stated that before a court disallows a partial deregulation, a plaintiff must show that it has suffered irreparable injury. "The District Court abused its discretion in enjoining APHIS from effecting a partial deregulation and in prohibiting the planting of RRA pending the agency’s completion of its detailed environmental review."[184] The Supreme court did not consider the district court's ruling disallowing RRA's deregulation and consequently RRA was still a regulated crop waiting for APHIS's completion of an EIS.[184] At the time, both sides claimed victory.[190] This was the first ruling of the United States Supreme Court on genetically engineered crops.[191]
Investigations
2009 antitrust investigation
In 2009 Monsanto came under scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department, which began investigating whether the company's activities in the soybean markets were breaking anti-trust rules.[16][192] In 2010 the DOJ created a website through which comments on "Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy" could be submitted; over 15,000 comments were submitted including a letter by 14 State Attorneys General. The comments are publicly available.[193] As of July 2012 the investigation was still open.[194]
Not a party, but involved
1997 WTVT news story
This is a case where Monsanto was not a party, but was alleged to have been involved in the events under dispute. In 1997, the news division of WTVT (Channel 13), a Fox–owned station in Tampa, Florida, planned to air an investigative report by Steve Wilson and Jane Akre on the health risks associated with Monsanto's bovine growth hormone product, Posilac.[195] Just before the story was to air, Fox received a threatening letter from Monsanto, saying the reporters were biased and that the story would damage the company.[195] Fox tried to work with the reporters to address Monsanto's concerns, and the negotiations between Fox and the reporters broke down.[195] Both reporters were eventually fired. Wilson and Akre alleged the firing was for retaliation, while WTVT contended they were fired for insubordination. The reporters then sued Fox/WTVT in Florida state court under the state's whistleblower statute. In 2000, a Florida jury found that while there was no evidence Fox/WTVT had bowed to any pressure from Monsanto to alter the story, Akre, but not Wilson, was a whistleblower and was unjustly fired.[195] Fox appealed the decision stating that under Florida law, a whistleblower can only act if "a law, rule, or regulation”" has been broken and argued that the FCC's news distortion policy did not fit that definition.[196] The appeals court overturned the verdict, finding that Akre was not a whistleblower because of the Florida "legislature's requirement that agency statements that fit the definition of a “rule” (must) be formally adopted (rules). Recognizing an uncodified agency policy developed through the adjudicative process as the equivalent of a formally adopted rule is not consistent with this policy, and it would expand the scope of conduct that could subject an employer to liability beyond what Florida's Legislature could have contemplated when it enacted the whistle-blower's statute."
Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories scandal
In 1981, four executives of Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories(IBT), an American contract research organization were indicted in federal court on various counts including scientific misconduct and fraud, and were convicted in 1983.[197] IBT was an industrial product safety testing laboratory that was used by pharmaceutical companies, chemical manufacturers and other industrial clients, operated one of the largest facility of its kind in the US, and performed more than one-third of all toxicology testing in the United States.[198] One of convicted executives was Paul Wright, a toxicologist, who had spent 18 months at IBT in the 1970s while IBT was testing an antimicrobial product that Monsanto was developing, triclocarban(TCC).[199] The revelations of misconduct by IBT Labs led to the establishment of Good Laboratory Practice standards and regulations for industrial testing.[200]
In 1991, Philip Smith, a former assistant toxicologist at IBT, testified in a trial in which Monsanto was being sued by workers at Westinghouse over PCBs, that final toxicology reports on PCBs provided to Monsanto by IBT contained falsified data

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...don't seem to coincide with those ideals. It is exactly what people hope to see when reading any company's code of ethics. Upon researching Monsanto and it's ethical issues, I have come to the conclusion that I do not believe them to be very ethical actors, or at the very least, they know how to operate in gray areas. While they do donate to charities, those donations seem to have motivation beyond altruism. To me, their donating seeds to third world nations is really only an attempt to get in to an untapped market that will eventually rely on them. The reason I believe this is because they have shown through past actions that their main goal is to control the majority of the world's GMO supply whether it is seeds or Prosilac, the hormone used to produce more milk in cows, or any other product they produce. They sued DuPont, a competitor, for trying to create their own seeds that could withstand Roundup (a Monsanto product that has all but completely saturated the marketplace). If DuPont didn't try to engineer seeds that could withstand Roundup, they literally wouldn't be able to compete as Roundup is so widely used. Their seeds would not produce crops and they wouldn't have customers. Also, the fact that their customers cannot reuse seeds from year to year shows profit motivation. Obviously, businesses rely on profit, but I feel like Monsanto has abused the power it has secured over the food supply. If their goals were simply to wipe out world...

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Monsanto Case Study

...The Monsanto Company is the world’s largest company that specializes in biotechnology and genetic manipulation of organisms. This worldwide company is well known by farmers because it helps them increase food production and revenues. Nowadays 90% of the world’s GM seeds are sold by Monsanto. The company's innovation can solve a huge world’s problems such as hunger, because of intensive growth of population and lack of food and resources. That would feed all people worldwide but only thought the use of biotechnology. During the long history of Monsanto, there were different ethical, health issue and problems in each period of time. According to the company in the period 1901, when company was founded, the production of the artificial sweetener saccharine that was sold to Coca cola, this time Monsanto was well known as a Chemical company. They supplied the U.S. Army (Agent orange) which military sprayed over Vietnam and then it lead to genetic mutations in Vietnam event after 40 years. In 1981, they determined that the biotechnology would be the company new strategic focus. Then in 1994, they introduced their first products, and then sold soybean, cotton, and canola seeds. So other herbicides killed good plants that consider as not ethical at all. After production of insecticide DDC make a debate about safety in food, that it can be cause of some dangerous illness. Ethical issue was that it could lead to changes in natural ecosystem and distorted natural balance, but......

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Monsanto Report a Corporate Profile

...Francisco, CA 94107 tel: (415) 293-9900 fax: (415) 293-8394 info-ca@fwwatch.org www.foodandwaterwatch.org Copyright © 2013 by Food & Water Watch. All rights reserved. This report can be viewed or downloaded at www.foodandwaterwatch.org. A CORPORATE PROFILE Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Company History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Modern-Day Monsanto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Monsanto’s Environmental Impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Market Share . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Figure 1. TIMELINE: A Selected History of Monsanto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Influence on Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Figure 2. Monsanto’s Interlocking Board Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Figure 3. Monsanto’s Revolving...

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Monsanto Attempts to Balance Stakeholder Interests

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Monsanto and the Moral Challenge Surrounding Genetically Modified Products

...Monsanto and the Moral Challenge Surrounding Genetically Modified Products Ethics and Humanity: Company Case Briefing Monsanto and the Moral Challenge Surrounding Genetically Modified Products The “good company” operates with four pillars in mind, each a different level for the firm to exhibit its corporate social responsibility. First, the company must ensure its commitment to the health, safety, productivity and profitability of its own employees. Second, the company must be actively customer-focused, establishing clear and open lines of communications and trust, while also demonstrating a duty of care in their operations. Third, the company must be globally-oriented towards the industry as a whole. And fourth, the company must display an investment in their own community. At each of those levels—the individual employee, the customer, the industry and the community, the “good company” should endeavor to uphold its own corporate pledge to deliver results while also taking responsibility for its activities. Applying this framework to Monsanto is a precarious task, but below we will examine the moral challenge that the company faces currently, identifying key stakeholders, and discerning the possible moral outcomes to its many challenges. Monsanto Company provides agricultural products for farmers in the US and abroad. With nearly 23,000 employees, the company has a history of producing and......

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