Monsanto & Seed Patent Laws

  • Aired:  09/12/13
  •  | Views: 343,392

Aasif Mandvi learns that greedy farmers have threatened the livelihood of Monsanto's heroic patent attorneys. (4:24)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

YOU KNOW, LIVING IN THE NEWYORK CITY WE'RE CONTINUALLY

REMINDED OF WHERE OUR FOODCOMES FROM.

WHETHER IT BE SHAKE SHACK ORSECOND AVENUE DELI.

BUT DID YOU KNOW THAT THEFOOD THAT YOU EAT COMES FROM

SOMEPLACE BEFORE THAT?

(LAUGHTER)AASIF MANDVI FILED THIS

REPORT.

>> AMERICA'S HEARTLAND GROWSCROPS TO FEED THE WORLD.

BUT WE OFTEN FORGET TOACKNOWLEDGE THOSE WHO BRING

US THIS BOUNTIFUL HARVESTYEAR AFTER YEAR.

BIOTECH COMPANIES.

>> BIOTECH COMPANIES AREREVOLUTIONIZING FARMING.

>> REALLY?

>> YES, THEY ARE HELPING TOPUT MORE FOOD ON TABLES

THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

>> FOR INSTANCE BIOTECHGIANT MONSANTO MAKES

PATENTED GENETICALLYMODIFIED SEEDS THAT RESIST

HIGHLY TOXIC WEED KILLERS.

WHICH THEY ALSO HAPPEN TOMAKE.

BUT NOW THEIR TIME-HONOREDWAY OF LIFE IS UNDER

ATTACK.

>> SOMETIMES FARMERS ACT INA MANNER THAT IS NOT IN THE

BEST INTEREST OF THEBIOTECHNOLOGY SEED COMPANY.

>> YES, BIG FARMER HASFORCED MONSANTO TO PURSUE

LEGAL ACTION AGAINST THEMOVER 500 TIMES A YEAR.

>> MONSANTO LAWYERS AREACCUSING FARMERS OF

VIOLATING THEIR PATENTSREGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY

ARE DOING IT OR NOT.

>> MAYBE THEY DESERVE IT.

>> THAT'S NOT TRUE.

>> BUT COME ON, THESE SEEDSARE PATENTED.

>> ONE CASE I AM AWARE,TRUCKS DRIVING BY

HIS FARM ON THE WAY TO THEELEVATORS, THE SEEDS BLEW

OFF HIS TRUCK INTO THE FIELD,HE WAS SUED BY MONSANTO.

>> MAYBE HE SHOULDN'T HAVEBUILT HIS FARM DOWNWIND.

>> THAT'S RIDICULOUS.

IT COSTS HUNDREDS OFTHOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO

DEFEND AGAINST APATENT-INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT.

THEY BASICALLY FORCE TO USFALL INTO LINE WITH THEIR

RULES.

>> DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD ITIS TO DEVELOP SEEDS.

IT'S NOT LIKE THEY GROW ONTREES.

>> ALL MONSANTO ASKS IS THATGREEDY FARMERS PAY A YEARLY

LICENSING FEE FOR NEW SEEDSRATHER THAN REUSE SEEDS FROM

A PREVIOUS HARVEST, THE WAYTHEY'VE DONE SINCE FARMING

BEGAN.

>> MONSANTO PATENTING OURPLANTS IS A THEFT OF OUR

GENETIC HERITAGE.

>> MAYBE YOU SHOULD PATENTYOUR GENETIC HERITAGE AND

THEN THEY CAN'T PATENT THEPATENT OF GENETIC HERITAGE.

>> SEE THAT'S WHY PATENTLAWYERS ARE SO VITAL.

THEY'VE DONE WHAT FARMERSHAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO DO.

COLLECT ROYALTIES ON NATURE.

>> YOU CAN PATENT ANYTHING?

>> NO.

>> I MEAN YOU CAN PATENTSEEDS.

>> THAT'S TRUE.

>> CAN YOU PATENT AIR?

>> NOT AWARE OF ANY PATENTSON AIR.

>> NO, CAN YOU PATENTTHIS --

>> THAT IS NOT PATENTELIGIBLE IT HAS TO BE NOVEL

AND NONOBVIOUS.

>> CAN I GET A PATENT ONTHAT?

>> HIGHLY UNLIKELY.

>> IT'S KIND OF A WEIRDTHING.

LOOK, SEE THAT, LADIES?

>> EVEN IF YOU DID, IT WOULDBE VERY DIFFICULT TO ENFORCE.

>> BUT NOT DIFFICULT FOR OURHEROIC PATENT ATTORNEYS,

CONSIDERING WHAT THEY'VEHELPED MONSANTO ACHIEVE.

>> MONSANTO'S LAWYERS AREPROFESSIONALS.

THIS IS ALL THEY DO IS SUEFARMERS.

THAT'S HOW THEY'VE GAINED A93% MARKET SHARE.

>> THEY HAVE A 93% MARKETSHARE?

>> 93%.

>> YOU HAVE TO DO A LOT OFSUING TO GET THAT KIND OF

MARKET SHARE.

I MEAN THIS IS BACKBREAKINGWORK THEY'RE DOING.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

>> GROWING FOOD.

>> BIG DEAL.

AND ANY HIPSTER CAN GROWFOOD.

YOU CAN GROW TOMATOES ON AROOFTOP IN WILLIAMSBURG.

DOESN'T TAKE A LOT OF SKILL.

>> IT TOOK FIVE GENERATIONSTO GET TO THIS POINT, TO

ACCUMULATE WHAT WE HAVE.

>> AND YOU KNOW, BIOTECHPATENT LAW HAS BEEN AROUND

SINCE 1985.

>> IT'S TIME TO HONOR THESEUNSUNG HEROES.

>> IT'S MORNING AGAIN INAMERICA'S FIRMS.

SOMEWHERE TODAY A LAW FIRMERIS TOSSING ON HIS BROOKS

BROTHERALS AND WORKING HARDIN THE FIELD TO UNCOVER CASES

OF PATENT INFRINGEMENT,DOING THE FAXING,

PROOFREADING, REDACTING ANDLITIGATING THAT NO ONE ELSE

IN AMERICA SEEMS TO HAVE THEWHEREWITHAL TO DO ANY MORE.

IT'S A TOUGH JOB.

BUT IT HAS ITS REWARDS.

A LOT OF REWARDS.

IN FACT, IT'S MOSTLY REWARDS.

IT'S THE KIND OF WORK THATMAKES A BOY LOOK INTO HIS

FATHER'S SMILING EYES ANDSAY DAD, SOME DAY I WANT TO

[BLEEP] OVER A FARMER.

JUST LIKE YOU DO.

>> THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN NOWAY REFLECT THOSE OF THE

DAILY SHOW.

MONSANTO,PLEASE DON'T SUE US

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