Patent law

Unjust ruling brews in Monsanto case

Word has it the that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule for Monsanto in the case of Monsanto vs. Bowman. Vernon Hugh Bowman, an Indiana farmer, bought seed from a local distributor. He did not specify wanting Monsanto-engineered seed, but the seed he purchased included some Monsanto seed or Monsanto seed progeny, and Monsanto sued Bowman for patent infringement.

It is the nature of genetically engineered crops and of agriculture itself that a specific variety cannot be contained and after a few generations is ubiquitous in the marketplace. Bowman did not replicate the seed himself, so how could he have infringed on Monsanto’s patent? Monsanto itself reproduced the seed by taking advantage of an attribute of nature. So Monsanto’s suit against Bowman is misdirected; it should be suing nature.

Allowing Monsanto to take advantage of self-replication in nature gives it patent rights in perpetuity for something it did not discover or invent. That proposition is unjust and absurd, and paves the way for corporations to own life itself.

Steven Boyer, St. Paul

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Legacy funds

Council’s advice should generally stand

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn’s article concerning Legacy Amendment funding (“Sorry, but Legacy funding doesn’t bypass Legislature,” Feb. 19) actually made a strong case validating Dennis Anderson’s concern that the Outdoor Heritage Council’s advice “needs to be heeded.”

Granting that the various metro park lands need preservation, the article neglected to acknowledge that most outdoor activities of fishing, hunting and camping take place outside the metro area. The overwhelming majority of our critical habitats, which are the focal point of the Legacy funding, exist across the broad expanses of our state.

If our legislators over the years had exercised better stewardship of our natural resources, there would have been no need for the Legacy Amendment. The sad condition of our wetlands, lakes and rivers is good evidence for keeping the Legacy funding priorities at arm’s length from the Legislature, which might be tempted to supplement its own projects and budgets with Legacy funds.

The council makes spending recommendations, which, contrary to Kahn’s assertion, offer balanced representation, careful research and sound science. It should require very unusual circumstances for the Legislature to override their recommendations.

Jerry Raedeke, Nisswa, Minn.

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Only a clean break can conquer it

I disagree that “the only effective treatment” of heroin addiction “is an indefinite prescription of Suboxone or methadone” (“12-step programs not the best therapy for heroin addiction,” Letter of the Day, Feb. 17).

I am a recovered heroin/prescription-drug addict who has been enrolled in a methadone program and am currently a member of AA. When the court system placed me in the methadone program, my life was out of control. I did experience some harm reduction at first. My job and family situation did stabilize.

However, I also experienced many of the common side effects of methadone addiction: impotence, memory loss, wild mood swings, insomnia, constipation and chronic fatigue. I bought and abused extra methadone from fellow clinic clients. I abused alcohol, cocaine and marijuana while using methadone. It was my experience that many methadone users were also abusing other drugs.

I was arrested and went through unimaginable withdrawal in jail.

Without a true psychic change and abstinence from all mood-altering drugs, addicts cannot recover from this disease. I have been clean and sober for many years. My prescription for recovery is daily prayer, attendance at AA meetings and association with other recovering people.

The letter writer is right. People are dying. But not from abstinence-based treatment. They are dying from opiate addiction.

David M. Stanley, Bloomington

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Naming pickles

One customer lost, one gained for Gedney

When did the word “midget” become offensive? How far are we going to carry this idiotic political correctness? (“Big objection to small pickle’s name leads to change,” Feb. 21.)

When I was in grade school, our basketball teams were called “midget” teams. If “midget” is offensive, why isn’t “dwarfism” offensive?

And a lot of people don’t like the term “little people.” It sounds like you’re talking about leprechauns. I’ve known and worked with some “little people” when I lived in the West. They referred to themselves as midgets. They weren’t offended or shamed by the word.

If Gedney caved into this politically correct nonsense, I will never buy the company’s products again. Enough is enough! Everything we say now is offensive to someone. Yet we overlook real problems, like unemployment, terrorism, climate change, etc. etc. Gee, did any of the words I used offend anyone?

Tom R. Kovach, Nevis, Minn.

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I was so impressed at Gedney’s response to the complaint that I immediately added a jar of Gedney pickles to my shopping list.

Mary Roening, Crystal