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Report from first day of Percy Schmeiser appeal

(May 16, 2002 – CropChoice news) – Terry Zakreski, the lawyer representing Canadian canola farmer Percy Schmeiser, said yesterday in a Federal Court of Appeal in Saskatoon that the farmer could not have infringed the patent on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready canola – so named for its genetically engineered tolerance to the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) – in 1998 because he didn’t spray his crop with Roundup. Last March, a Federal Court judge ruled that Schmeiser was guilty of patent infringement.

"Until you spray with Roundup, the gene is just a passenger within the canola," said Zakreski, according to The Star Phoenix. He reasoned that the gene conferring Roundup resistance defines itself by that utility. Therefore, he said, the trial judge mistakenly had concluded that spraying the herbicide on a field of resistant canola wasn’t necessary to prove patent infringement.

The judge ruled that Schmeiser knew or ought to have known that the canola seed had saved and replanted was resistant to Roundup. The judge didn’t believe that the Roundup-resistance in Schmeiser’s came from pollen or seed from his neighbor’s fields or from wind, insects and passing trucks.

Source: The Star Phoenix (Saskatoon)