Justice Alex Nunes Figueiredo issued a preliminary injunction, on the 11th of October, prohibiting that Monsanto forces farmers to sign a contract in order to purchase newly produced Intacta soybean seeds from Monsanto.
The contract is the same contract that Monsanto applies to American farmers which prohibits farmers from their old age practice of saving and replanting seeds and allows Monsanto to police their farms. The multitude of litigation in the American court system including the case of Bowman vs. Monsanto, illustrates the severe consequences of signing this contract.
Monsanto had announced that it was entering the Brazilian market with the Intacta genetically modified seeds after a $ 249 million profit loss in the last quarter.
The injunction is as a result of a lawsuit filed by Sinop Rural Union and currently only applies to the State of Mato Grosso. The court’s opinion in Portugese can be accessed here.
The attorney for the organization, Orlando Caesar, reiterated that the justice was implementing precautionary measures to protect farmers from restrictive contracts and possible illegal actions.
In a backlash against Monsanto’s business practices the Brazilian Supreme Court last year ruled that Monsanto had collected royalties from farmers illegally for their RR1 soybean product and issued a ruling that the company has to compensate the farmers.
As a result of the ruling Monsanto attempted to implement a coercive agreement with Brazilian farmer unions, where any farmer who wanted to plant RR2 Intacta soybeans had to sign an agreement with Monsanto waiving their rights to a refund of the illegally collected royalties and agreeing to allow Monsanto the right to enter and inspect his/her property at any time and not to sue Monsanto for any reason.
The farmer would also agree to “the declaration of principles that recognize the intellectual property rights on agricultural technologies”. A concept that violates Brazilian seed law, which protects farmers’ rights to save seed and to use or sell the products of their own cultivation.
Needless to say the Brazilian court system appears to recognize the unenforceable nature of Monsanto’s contracts, in contrast to the American justice system.