The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court’s dismissal of the declaratory judgment action brought by a number of organizations representing the interests of organic farmers. Organic Seed Growers & Trade Ass’n v. Monsanto Co., No. 2012-1298 (Fed. Cir., decided June 10, 2013). The farmers sought a declaration of non-infringement and invalidity with respect to 23 patents on various crops, including soybeans and corn. Details about the lower court’s ruling appear in Issue 429 of this Update.
According to the Federal Circuit, “Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not ‘take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto the grower’s land), and [the organic farmers] have not alleged any circumstances placing them beyond the scope of those assurances.” The court agreed with the district court that there was no justiciable case or controversy and thus the courts lacked jurisdiction to consider the claims.