Big Supreme Court case on Tuesday

A case to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday has tremendous implications for agriculture. The case, Monsanto versus Indiana farmer Vernon Brown is over how long Monsanto can claim patent protection for genetically engineered seed.

Bowman has purchased Monsanto seeds for years for his main soybean crop but bought unlabeled “bin run” soybeans from a local elevator in to plant after taking a winter wheat crop off on some land in 1999. He even saved some of the beans from that crop to plant again.

Some of those soybeans turned out to be Roundup-Ready and Monsanto sued charging infringement of its patent. Bowman contends the patent only applies to the first generation of seed.

A lower court and a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals both ruled in favor of Monsanto in the suit.

The case could have tremendous implications not only for patented seed traits but patented stem cell lines and other protected biotechnologies and even patent law itself. Reuter’s reports; “More than 50 organizations – from environmental groups to intellectual property experts – as well as the U.S. government, have filed legal briefs hoping to sway the high court.”

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  • The biotech firms want to sell to the growers that they need to use F1 seed every crop year, as there is no warranty of what ever that F1 seed promotes, therefore F2 is not the same product as F1.
    Monsanto do not own a patent on a product they do not certify.

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