Expert response from André Roef
Head of Law, Patents & Compliance Seeds, Bayer
Friday, 08/16/2013 14:55
Lawsuits generated by biotech companies against farmers mostly center around patent protection issues. Patents are sought to protect intellectual property rights and are a compensation for the investments in time, work and resources to develop new technologies. Patents, in addition to plant protection certificates, have been available on seeds and plants in certain countries, such as the United States and Australia, provided that the legal criteria for patentability are met. Biotech companies sometimes file suit against farmers who intentionally breach their contracts and infringe the patent rights of such companies. However litigation is always a last resort.
Lawsuits against biotech companies initiated by farmers generally involve product claims (e.g. non-performance of the seed under extreme weather conditions) or damage claims because traces of unapproved genetically engineered traits were inadvertently found in their crops.
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