"If these patents are granted, Monsanto can legally prevent breeders and farmers from breeding pigs whose characteristics are described in the patent claims, or force them to pay royalties," says Then. "It's a first step toward the same kind of corporate control of an animal line that Monsanto is aggressively pursuing with various grain and vegetable lines."The article does the story much more justice than I can do here quoting a couple of paragraphs...I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one...
In one application (WO 2005/015989 to be precise) Monsanto is describing very general methods of crossbreeding and selection, using artificial insemination and other breeding methods which are already in use. The main "invention" is nothing more than a particular combination of these elements designed to speed up the breeding cycle for selected traits, in order to make the animals more commercially profitable. (Monsanto chirps gleefully about lower fat content and higher nutritional value. But we've looked and we couldn't find any "Philanthropic altruism" line item in their annual reports, despite the fact that it's an omnipresent factor in their advertising.)
According to Then, "I couldn't belive this. I've been reviewing patents for 10 years and I had to read this three times. Monsanto isn't just seeking a patent for the method, they are seeking a patent on the actual pigs which are bred from this method. It's an astoundingly broad and dangerous claim."
And while I'm stealing links from one of my favorite sites, I'm going to force some more copyright info upon you:
I think a lot of people incorrectly assume that Copyfighters are people who believe that copyright should be abolished and that everything should be free. Copyfighters aren’t saying that all media should be freely distributed. We are saying that as consumers of media (film, television, software, literature, etc.) we have certain rights that we would like to protect. One of these rights is Fair Use. Fair Use means that you can reuse copyrighted work without permission as long as you are commenting on it, or copying/parodying the original. Fair Use is what allows you to quote song lyrics when writing a review of a new CD. Another right is First Sale. First Sale means that when you buy something, you own it and are thus entitled to sell it to someone else. First Sale is what allows you to buy a book, read it, then sell it on half.com for someone else to enjoy.
Most of all, we simply want the right to use the products we buy in the way that we see fit. We don’t want to be sued by a manufacturer for opening up a product to see how it works or sued by a media company for moving a file from one device to another. We believe that when we buy a CD, we should be able to convert it to another format to play on another device. We shouldn’t have to pay again to turn it into a ring tone.