Seed terr -ible or -ific?

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Debate and dissent are healthy for any relationship – be it marriage, friendship and civic. But now, inappropriately, now when one disagrees with OUR government’s various policies, too easily one is labeled terror ist. Ask your uncommonly consulted common-sense whether these people at the seed library are doing anything wrong. And ask your self who were the corporate lobbyists behind the 2004 Seed Act. And who sponsored the bill? Viklowsky and Kaptur. And watch the FILM HERE.

Natural seed proponents are now Potential Terrorists according to the US Government

SOURCE- reprinted from NaturalNews and We are Change

Increasingly, when Americans “dare” to color outside the lines of government food regulation, those who seek to rule us label them extremists and, now, even “agri-terrorists.”
As noted by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper, officials in more than one state have turned into food Nazis:
It looks like Michigan is not the only state with a Department of Agriculture that is adamant about the best interests of their citizens. Residents in Pennsylvania can now breathe a little bit easier since an illegal enterprise has been shut down.

The Joseph T. Simpson Public Library in Mechanicsburg was participating in an activity that put the entire ecosystem of the state at risk.

In an astonishing act of hubris, they were running a seed library, right there amongst the books, in the very facility where small children go to have stories read to them.
Yes, that’s right: a seed library.

”˜We’re from the government and we know what is best’
For those who are not familiar with seed libraries, they permit consumers to walk in and take home Heirloom seeds ”” for free. The “borrower” plants the seeds and then, when harvest time comes around, he/she saves seeds and then returns them to the library, where they can then be loaned out to others.

But apparently, Luther writes, that practice is in violation of the “Seed Act of 2004.” Yes, America, there is actually a law that makes seed lending and replacement illegal.

In commenting on the ludicrous nature of the law, Luther wrote that, “luckily for the Cumberland County Library System, the state D of A [Department of Agriculture] decided that SWAT was not necessary and instead sent a high-ranking official and a team of lawyers to shut down the seed library.”

Alas, another national emergency averted.
Luther noted that Jonelle Darr, the executive director of the library, said that 60 local residents had signed up to participate in the seed library. She added, however, that continuing the project is not possible now, due to the overly restrictive requirements from the state department of agriculture.
According to The Sentinel newspaper, prior to having its seed library shuttered, the library system had spent a great deal of time working in partnership with the Cumberland County Commission for Women and obtaining information from the local Penn State Ag Extension office in order to create the pilot seed library project.

“The effort was a new seed-gardening initiative that would allow for residents to ”˜borrow’ seeds and replace them with new ones harvested at the end of the season,” the paper said in its online version.
Mechanicsburg’s effort was launched April 26 in conjunction with an Earth Day festival, however, a number of similar efforts had already begun across the state before that local initiative was launched.

”˜Agri-Terrorism’
In researching the project, Darr said that no one had come across any information indicating that there were problems with the idea, the paper reported:
That was, until, the library system received a letter from the state Department of Agriculture telling them they were in violation of the Seed Act of 2004.

“We did talk to the county extension office before establishing the seed library,” Darr told Cumberland County commissioners at a recent meeting. “We were never apprised of the Seed Act.”
Commissioners were equally stunned about learning of the law and the change of events, as well as the manner in which the state agriculture department handled its investigation ”” sending high-ranking officials and lawyers to the library.
But one of them commissioners, Barbara Cross, excused the heavy-handedness by labeling folks interested in this program as extremists.

“Agri-terrorism is a very, very real scenario,” she said. “Protecting and maintaining the food sources of America is an overwhelming challenge … so you’ve got agri-tourism on one side and agri-terrorism on the other.”

The agriculture department told the library that it could not set up a seed program until its staff tested each seed packet for germination and other data. Darr said that was not obviously not something the library staff was capable of handling.
“This is not our core mission,” she said. “We thought we were doing a good thing in helping the Cumberland County Commission for Women (who requested the idea and the library’s participation).”

Sources:
http://www.naturalnews.com/046361_agri-terrorism_heirloom_seeds_home_gardening.html
http://www.theorganicprepper.ca
http://cumberlink.com
http://pa-cumberlandcounty.civicplus.com

HERE IS THE DOWN AND DIRTY ON THE SEED ACT

By Tony Dutra

Kaptur Reintroduces Seed Replanting Bill But Supreme Court Decision Coming Soon
From Patent, Trademark & Copyright Law Daily™

Jan 15th 2013

Rep. Marcia C. Kaptur (D-Ohio) reintroduced Jan. 4 the Seed Availability and Competition Act (H.R. 193) that would “require persons who seek to retain seed harvested from the planting of patented seeds to register with the Secretary of Agriculture and pay fees set by the Secretary for retaining such seed.”

The fees would be deposited in a “Patented Seed Fund” administered by the secretary for payment to patent holders. Farmers paying the fees would “not be bound by any contractual limitation on retaining such seed, or by any requirement to pay royalties or licensing or other fees, by reason of the patent, for retaining such seed.”

The effect of the bill would essentially be a compulsory licensing of patents owned by Monsanto Co., which has successfully litigated patent infringement cases against farmers who harvest the company’s Roundup Ready seeds and replant them in second and subsequent years.

H.R. 193 was referred to both the Agriculture Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, but action on the bill would be a surprise. Kaptur has been fighting for such legislation since 2004, it has been referred to those two committees each time, and there is no record of any activity on the bill in either committee.

The U.S. Supreme Court, however, will be addressing the issue in its current session and could give farmers more relief than would H.R. 193. The case the high court will decide challenges whether the second-generation seed is subject to the patent exhaustion doctrine, such that farmers would be free to replant without infringing.

Monsanto’s Many Wins

Monsanto licenses its technology to seed producers, who in turn sublicense it to farmers, under the terms of the Monsanto Technology Agreement. The agreement limits a farmer’s planting of seeds to a single season, but the Roundup Ready trait carries forward to each successive seed generation. Monsanto’s litigation has generally been to fight instances of seed planting in a second or subsequent season without license payments.

After initial success in a Canadian court, the company won multiple cases against farmers at the Federal Circuit:

•”‰Farmer Homan McFarling was found likely to infringe two patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 5,352,605 and 5,633,435), and he was prohibited in a preliminary injunction from continuing to plant saved Roundup Ready seeds. Monsanto Co. v. McFarling, 302 F.3d 1291, 64 U.S.P.Q.2d 1161 (Fed. Cir. 2002). The farmer had challenged the forum selection clause in the Technology Agreement. Two years later, the court upheld the dismissal of McFarling’s antitrust counterclaim and his patent misuse defenses. 363 F.3d 1336, 70 U.S.P.Q.2d 1481 (Fed. Cir. 2004).
•”‰Two years after that, the court also held that the Technology Agreement does not constitute an illegal tying arrangement or patent misuse, in a case covering the ‘605 patent and three more (Nos. 5,322,938; 5,164,316; and 5,196,525). Monsanto Co. v. Scruggs, 459 F.3d 1328, 79 U.S.P.Q.2d 1813 (Fed. Cir. 2006).
•”‰The ‘605 patent was again found infringed in 2008, as the appellate court rejected the farmer’s argument that plant varieties are only patentable under the Plant Protection Act of 1930 or the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970, in Monsanto Co. v. David, 516 F.3d 1009, 85 U.S.P.Q.2d 1963 (Fed. Cir. 2008).
•”‰The court held in September 2011 that the result of self-replicating technology–the next generations of harvested seeds–is a “newly infringing article.” Thus, even if the original seed is subject to patent exhaustion after its first sale, replanting the second generation is not. Monsanto Co. v. Bowman, 657 F.3d 1341, 100 U.S.P.Q.2d 1224 (Fed. Cir. 2011).
The Federal Circuit is currently considering one more challenge, this time a declaratory judgment action brought by farmers and organic food organizations. The court heard oral argument on Jan. 10 of an appeal of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York’s decision that the plaintiffs lack standing to seek a declaration of patent ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101. Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association v. Monsanto Co., 851 F.”‰Supp.”‰2d 544, 103 U.S.P.Q.2d 1623 (S.D.N.Y. 2012).

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE
Text of the bill can be found at: http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/HR19313Jan4.pdf.

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Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Debate and dissent are healthy for any relationship – be it marriage, friendship and civic. But now, inappropriately, now when one disagrees with OUR government’s various policies, too easily one is labeled terror ist. Ask your uncommonly consulted common-sense whether these people at the seed library are doing anything wrong. And ask…
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