Ground Cover North : Ground Cover 051 August-September 2004 - North
FARMERS' RIGHTS 25 AUGUST 2004 Relax. WFI's Early Bird Crop Insurance covers your crop from seedling to silo. The Early Bird Crop Policy protects against fire and hail damage, chemical over spray, damage by livestock, as well as storage and transit risks. On top of this, you receive full yield cover for any damage that occurs before your estimate is required. WFI has looked after Australian grain growers for more than 80 years. We have one of the nation's largest network of representatives - more than 100 at last count - so you're never far away from WFI's professional service. Little wonder more Australian farmers choose WFI's Early Bird cover than any other crop policy. Protect your crop and win a holiday.* For an obligation-free quote, and the chance to win an exotic holiday for two, call your WFI representative today. Western Australia (08) 9273 5333 South Australia (08) 8373 9200 Victoria (03) 9347 4033 Tasmania (03) 6331 5022 New South Wales (02) 6362 6768 Queensland (07) 3871 0277 www.wfi.com.au ABN:18 009 027 221 Worried about your crop? WFI 226840 * Contact WFI for full terms and conditions. Authorised under NSW permit No.TPL 04/05095: ACT TP04/2015: SA Permit No. T04/1968 Following the Monsanto victory in the Schmeiser case, the debate over gene patents is set to move from the courts to the political arena. Certainly, the decision has wider international ramifications. In Australia, the issue of liability for GM crops is already contentious. The Gene Technology Regulator has approved the release of a number of GM canola crops owned by Bayer and Monsanto. However, the state governments of Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and We stern Australia have imposed moratoriums on GM crops, expressing concerns about the impact on export markets. It remains to be seen whether there will be a resolution to this impasse between the Australian Government and the state governments. It should also be stressed that the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada is not limited to biotechnology. It raises issues not just with the future of GM crops, but other patented plant technologies. The decision highlights the need for growers to take care that they only use patented plants with the express permission of the owners. Without this, the use and possession of a patented invention could amount to infringement of the patentee's rights. The decision also emphasises that there is no defence under patent law in respect of farm-saved seed. It reinforces the importance of farmers carefully scrutinising their contracts then acting on the clauses as required. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled by a majority of five to four that prairie farmer Percy Schmeiser had infringed the patent of Monsanto relating to genetically modified herbicide-resistant canola. The court held that Monsanto's patent on herbicide- resistant canola was valid, stating: "... An invention in the domain of agriculture is as deserving of protection as an invention in the domain of mechanical science." The ruling also rejected the farmer's argument that he was unaware of the presence of GM crops on his land, holding: "Mr Schmeiser was not an innocent bystander; rather, he actively cultivated Roundup Ready® canola." However, although it had found that Monsanto held a valid patent, and that Percy Schmeiser had infringed that patent, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to grant Monsanto an account of profits because the farmer had not benefited from the invention. The court ordered that each party should bear its own costs. GRDC RESEARCH CODE ANU 18, program 6 For more information: Dr Matthew Rimmer, firstname.lastname@example.org A full version of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Percy Schmeiser v Monsanto (2004) SCC 34 is available at http://www.canlii.org/ca/cas/scc/ 2004/2004scc34.html Dr Matthew Rimmer, from the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture at the Australian National University, considers the ramifications of the Canadian court case that tested the strength of patents and liabilities covering GM crops. By CHRIS GREENWOOD Monsanto's victory over canola farmer Percy Schmeiser in the Canadian Supreme Court protects farmers who have adopted crop biotechnology, according to Monsanto Australia's communications manager Mark Buckingham. Mr Buckingham says the high-profile Canadian case was not about a farmer's innocent discovery of "blow-by" patented plants on his land. It was about the deliberate use of a patented plant without paying for it. He says it will never be Monsanto's policy to take legal action against farmers who might have Roundup- tolerant crops on their properties but were "innocent bystanders". "Mr Schmeiser was found by the trial judge not to be an 'innocent bystander'; rather he had actively cultivated Roundup Ready® canola." Mr Buckingham says Monsanto has no intention of taking legal action over any accidental presence of GM traits on farms, and points to the Seed Industry Association of Australia policy that states low levels of a GM trait in canola seed (up to 0.5 percent) are deemed not to affect the integrity of the crop. Gene patents debate moves into the political arena Court victory protects farmers, says Monsanto The decision highlights the need for growers to take care that they only use patented plants with the express permission of the owners.
Ground Cover 052 October-November 2004 - North
Ground Cover 050 June-July 2004 - North