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Monsanto wants extended seed royalties

(Thursday, May 22, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Colorado farmer David Dechant translated the following notes from the Monsanto Argentina website. Following that is news about Monsanto's intention to charge Brazilian exporters for any Roundup Ready varieties making it into their shipments.

by David Dechant

Monsanto has joined Nidera, which is a leading Argentine seed company, and other seed companies in Argentina, in asking for extended royalties on seed. Below is my translation of a website discussing it.

It is unclear to me how seed companies will enforce it. Monsanto cites Argentina's seed law, but I don't think it contains any requirements about extended royalties, unless it has changed. Seed Law 20.247 is very similar to our Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) the last time I looked.

The rate Monsanto is asking is higher than Nidera's, at US $1.50 for every 25 kilos as compared with Nidera's US $2 for every 50 kilos. These rates are far below what US farmers pay in technolgy fees.

American farmers should know that Monsanto accepts an alternative to its all out seed-saving prohibition here, but seed saving with conditions as in extended royalties can also cause a lot of problems. Still, the royalty is far less than what Monsanto charges US farmers in tech fees and they don't have to pay extra to buy new certified seed every year. Translation: Extended Royalties

http://www.monsanto.com.ar/secciones/productos/soja/regalia/msps_r.asp

The result of the important development and research programs that Monsanto has carried out for many years give us the highest technology in products for agricultural productivity growth. These advances have permitted farmers to always be able to count on having the best technology. The implementation of the commercial system of extended royalties seeks to protect the rights of developers of new varieties.

Application of this system

With the release of every new variety, information will be published whether or not the extended royalty system will apply to that variety. Once released under this system, extended royalties will be in force every time that the producer (farmer) multiplies seed. This system will apply only to the Republic of Argentina. The varieties that are being commercialized under this method are: AW 2886, AW 3702, AW 3982, AW 4403, AW 4500, AW 5522, AW 5581, AW 7110.

Amount and Form of Payment

Upon purchasing original Monsanto seed, the price is that shown on the current list in force, with a special emblem on the invoice mentioning which system the purchased variety falls under. Following the purchase of the seed and before the next crop year begins, the producer needs to make a sworn statement attesting to the amount of seed saved for planting. After turning over the sworn statement, Monsanto will emit a debit note for royalties of the value of US $1.50 for every 25 kilos (55 pounds) of seed. This mechanism will repeat itself every time the farmer saves seed bought under this system.

Penalties for non-compliance

The non-compliance of the terms accepted by the producer upon buying the variety, whose terms of sale are explicitly written and explained, brings along commercial and/or punitive actions that the public offering of the variety in question specifies.

Rights which the payment of royalties give the producer

The producer may plant the kilograms of saved seed declared in the season corresponding to his declaration. But he cannot market (sell or trade) this seed, being that it is not fiscalized (certified) by SAGPy A (ex INASE Seed Law no.20.247)

My Notes: SAGPyA, a.k.a. Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Fishing, and Food
INASE, the National Institute of Seeds, has been dissolved.
Seed Law 20.247 is very similar to the USís PVPA and still operative

Sen. Coleman to chair hearing that will make news regarding Brazil's illegal use of GMO soybeans
http://www.agweb.com/news_printer.asp?file=AgNewsArticle_2003520614_5211&articleID=97944&newscat=WI&at=

Monsanto asks Brazil GM-soy exporters to pay royalty
WASHINGTON, May 20 (Reuters) - Exporters selling genetically modified soybeans from Brazil may be asked to buy a license from Monsanto Co., the developer of the variety, or "be subject to enforcement actions," the firm said on Tuesday.

Monsanto said the proposal was an attempt to end piracy of its technology. Growers in the United States and elsewhere pay a fee for use of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" soybeans.

According to the American Soybean Association, growers in Brazil save 41 U.S. cents to 95 cents a bushel in production costs because they pay no fees. Brazil has not approved use of GMO soybeans but there are estimates that up to 30 percent of its soybean plantings are of the Roundup Ready variety.

The soybeans are genetically enhanced to tolerate herbicides, which results in better weed control and higher yields.

"Our plan will allow the export of Roundup Ready soybeans from Brazil by those who choose to execute an agreement acknowledging our intellectual property rights," Monsanto Vice President Carl Casale said in testimony prepared for a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing.

Casale said the agreement would "provide fair compensation to Monsanto." Exporters and importers would need to acquire "this fee-bearing license ... if the beans they are shipping from Brazil include above threshold quantities of Roundup Ready soybeans," he said.

"Traders who elect not to secure a license will be subject to enforcement actions. There are a myriad of procedures available to insure fair enforcement," Casale said.

In addition, Monsanto would not introduce other biotech varieties to Brazil "until intellectual property rights are respected and effectively enforced," Casale added.

Subcommittee chairman Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republican, said the current situation was unacceptable. It gives Brazil's farmers a cost advantage over U.S. farmers and violated Monsanto's property rights, he said.

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