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November 26, 2012 | last updated November 26, 2012 11:18 am

Growers' group gets appeal hearing in Monsanto case

A Maine-based agriculture group will have another chance to bring crop seed giant Monsanto into court after its previous lawsuit was dismissed in 2011.

The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, based in Washington, Maine, will argue on Jan. 10, 2013, that a New York court should not have thrown out its 2011 lawsuit, according to the Bangor Daily News.

In that lawsuit, the organic growers' association and 82 plaintiffs challenged the validity of Monsanto's patents on certain genetically modified crops and also asked for protection from lawsuits in the event that those crops contaminate their own as a result of seed drift or cross pollination.

Federal judge Naomi Buchwald dismissed that suit before it went to trial in February and the growers' association appealed that decision in March.

In the pending oral arguments, the BDN reported that the association, represented pro bono by the nonprofit Public Patent Foundation, will argue that reversible errors were committed in dismissing the case and that it should be allowed to continue.

The Maine-based association represents approximately 25% of all certified organic farms in the U.S. and Canada, according to Jim Gerritsen, association president and Bridgewater seed potato farmer.

Monsanto is the St. Louis-based chemical manufacturer that produces consumer and commercial herbicides like Roundup and produces seed brands for corps like corn, cotton, soybeans, canola, cucumbers and melons.

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