"Soylent Contains GMOs-And Proud Of It"

Imo, it’s not the gmos themselves that are bad, it’s unethical business practices.

Patenting the soybean and forcing farmers to sign unfair and extortionate contracts are not good things.

Creating more nutritious food that lasts longer, tastes better, produces more, and requires less pesticides are definitely good things.

Just my 2¢


I believe that some GMO companies have unethical business practices. I do not believe this is a quality exclusive to GMO companies. In fact, I think this about most companies.

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You mean taking actions that make perfect sense from a business perspective? I get that farming used to be this holy practice and a central part of our culture, but that world is over. Farmers will compete with each other and the ones that fail to keep ahead will go bankrupt. Which is better for everyone in the long run. The idea that Monsanto is “forcing” farmers to sign contracts is just dubious. Contracts require all signatories to be willing and competent under the law or they aren’t legitimate. This is Torts 101.

I won’t pretend the company is totally innocent and always has been, but lets be practical here. The US government slaughtered the entire indigenous population of America. Nobody blames them today because they’re under new management and vastly new rules.

If we were to disband them to “open up competition”, they aren’t going to very well spill all the dirty details on all their most sophisticated methods and technologies. Many of their top employees have ND agreements already (also not forced). Is sacrificing the potential for a better fed population really worth letting a few holier-than-thou types get their 15 minutes of fame over issues that happened decades ago?

The thing that none of Monsanto’s critics want to admit is that the company has ultimately been a force for good in the world. They’ve advanced agriculture massively and are directly responsible for many more millions of people being alive today than would have been possible without them. And not that its a relevant point anyway but they’ve saved WAY more lives than they’ve harmed.


City folk preaching about farming. I love it.


How about instead of making crops that resist bugs and competing plants themselves (has been done before, and it’s perfectly safe), they make crops that resist pesticides and herbicides (specifically the ones that Monsanto conviently sells) instead.

Three words: Straw man fallacy.

Yes they have, but they can do better (see first paragraph). Spraying roundup from planes is really not good for the environment.

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Would someone like to explain the furor over patenting seeds?
If you couldn’t patent it then you would have to recoup the entire cost of developing that seed in the sale of the single seed, otherwise you’re going to be competing with someone whose only cost to making more of the seeds that you spent billions on developing is a pot of soil and a little water.

What is the alternative to being able to patent a new seed?
If you couldn’t patent it it seems to me the only thing you would be able to do is grow the crops yourself since if you sell it everyone else will instantly gain the competitive advantage you spent billions on developing… the only way to recoup those billions is to become a mega-farmer yourself. Then, as time passes, the laboratory with the best seeds ends up with materially all of the best farming land closing down every other lab and farm effectively ending competition both for better seeds as well as for better farming practices.

Who entered the transaction involuntarily?
If this is such an unfair deal who is it unfair to? There are exactly two parties to this deal, the seed seller and the seed buyer. The seed buyer is not under threat of violence when they purchase the seeds. I’m not going to argue that every human on the planet behaves rationally all of the time, but I have trouble imagining that every farmer who enters these deals does so in a fit of irrationality, and if we accept that is true then those farmers must believe the seeds provide some utility (in fact we must then believe that the farmers believe that the seeds provide greater utility than the dollars they exchange for them).


Monsanto spends billions of dollars on R&D.

Because patents are too absolute. You can violate a patent by having the wind blow a seed onto your land, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

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According to 35 U.S. Code § 271 you have to make, use, offer to sell, or sell patented material for you to be in breach of the patent, so I don’t think windblown seeds would qualify. Additionally, the remedies for breach of patent are tied to economic damages, which could only arise if you intentionally used the windblown seed to your economic advantage.

Are there any documented cases of a farmer actually being prosecuted for this?


“use”. A patented seed growing on your property is “use”, and thus infringement without a license. Patents are absolute.


The US Supreme Court upheld biotech giant Monsanto’s claims on genetically-engineered seed patents and the company’s ability to sue farmers whose fields are inadvertently contaminated with Monsanto materials.

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Monsanto filed 144 patent infringement lawsuits against farmers between 1997 and April 2010, and won judgments against farmers that the company argued made use of their seed without paying required royalties.

Yet the appeals panel also said the plaintiffs do not have standing to prohibit Monsanto from suing them should the company’s genetic traits end up on their holdings “because 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).’”

From the same (first) article. So it would appear there hasn’t ever been a case of suing over windblown seeds, the farmers want wider safeharbors than the current agreements allow for and the sellers retained the ability to have each instance evaluated on a case by case basis.

From your second article:

The ruling makes it clear that there was neither a history of behavior nor a reasonable likelihood that Monsanto would pursue patent infringement matters against farmers who have no interest in using the company’s patented seed products.

The judge in the case said Monsanto has not sued any of the plaintiffs or anyone in “similar stead,” and she criticized the plaintiffs for what she called a “transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists.”

I’m not seeing why I should be on the plaintiff’s side in these situations.


Monsanto admits to having sued 147 farmers on their website:

Since 1997, we have only filed suit against farmers 147 times in the United States. This may sound like a lot, but when you consider that we sell seed to more than 325,000 American farmers a year, it’s really a small number. Of these, we’ve proceeded through trial with only eleven farmers. All eleven cases were found in Monsanto’s favor.

Their assertion is that these are not cases of seed “blowing onto fields”, and, in the sampling of court cases they provide on their website, it’s pretty clear that they attempt to find (and generally succeed in doing so) eyewitness testimony and physical evidence that the farmers are intentionally saving seed and replanting it in violation of the agreement they signed to

.So, in all likelihood, No, Farmers are not being sued for seeds blown into their fields.


You keep missing the point. Whether Monsanto has sued for that or not, patent law definitely gives them the right to. Let me quote again.

The US Supreme Court upheld biotech giant Monsanto’s claims on genetically-engineered seed patents and the company’s ability to sue farmers whose fields are inadvertently contaminated with Monsanto materials.

Bottom line, that is the law. Whether Monsanto has exercised that provision or not is irrelevant.

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How did those farmers obtain the GMO seeds?

Yes Monsanto actively tries to sue farmers for intentionally growing their seeds without permission but have they ever won a case for accidental contamination of a field?

According to this article by NPR (take it with a grain of salt) there was a case in Canada where a farmer was successfully prosecuted for illegally growing GMO canola seeds. Monsanto won because the farmer intentionally selected and planted the modified seeds NOT because his field was accidentally contaminated.


Yeah, but suing someone is not the same as winning damages against them. And filing 147 suits out of nearly six million enterprise transactions doesn’t strike me as terribly crazy.


It’s extremely relevant. If Monsanto is some big bad company out to crush the little guy in an attempt at world domination then why aren’t they going after these people for something that is not their fault?


I’m not judging Monsanto as a good or bad company. I’m just stated their legal rights with respect to patents. Here they confirm exactly what I’m saying:


X. We do not exercise our patent rights…

The law gives them the right to sue for inadvertent infringement. That’s simply how patents work.


I think I see what you are saying. They have the right to do so but they chose not to.