News

Maine Law Prof. Rita Heimes interviewed by Maine Public Radio about Monsanto case

Jan. 15, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine – University of Maine School of Law Prof. Rita Heimes, an expert in intellectual property, spoke with Maine Public Radio on Jan. 10 about a legal battle between Maine organic farmers and biotechnology giant Monsanto.

The plaintiffs are led by the Maine-based Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. They say they are trying to protect farmers from patent infringement lawsuits by Monsanto, in cases in which the company’s seeds inadvertently drift into fields containing non-genetically modified crops. A district judge dismissed the case last year, saying the claims were unsubstantiated because none of the plaintiffs had actually been threatened by a lawsuit. This month, a three-member appeals court heard arguments on whether that earlier ruling should be overturned.

“The federal circuit is really friendly to patent holders, and I don’t see them changing their stripes,” Heimes told Maine Public Radio reporter Patty Wight. Heimes, who has been with Maine Law since 2001, is the director of the school’s Center for Law and Innovation.

Despite the long odds facing the farmers, Heimes said the action is a way for them to shine a public spotlight on their broader concerns about Monsanto’s business practices and genetically modified seeds.

To listen to the story, click here to go directly to the Maine Public Radio site.

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Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: trevor.maxwell@maine.edu

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