Thursday, June 13, 2013

UPDATE: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Monsanto in Gene Pattent Dispute

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto in the case of the agri-business giant vs. small Indiana farmer.

But the ruling was narrower than it could have been. The court ruled that Vernon Bowman violated the patent intentionally. He was in violation because he actually made an attempt to use the patented soybean seed without paying for it. It appears that those who violate the patent accidentally (because of plants spreading seed on their own) would not be considered in violation, but SCOTUS did not specifically rule on this issue. This point of law is crucial considering that genetically modified (GMO) wheat has popped up in a field in Oregon despite never having been distributed beyond test crops. On the other hand, farmers can't sue Monsanto preemptively to prevent patent enforcement on accidental cultivation of patented seed.

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