The biotechnology industry won a big case in the U.S. Supreme Court today with a unanimous judgment in favor of Monsanto Co. in a lawsuit brought by an Indiana farmer who disputed Monsanto’s ability to protect the patents on its genetically modified seeds. The court rejected the claims of the farmer, Vernon Bowman, that the company’s rights were “exhausted” by the first sale of soybean seeds.
“Bowman planted Monsanto’s patented soybeans solely to make and market replicas of them, thus depriving the company of the reward patent law provides for the sale of each article,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the full court. “Patent exhaustion provides no haven for that conduct.”
The industry’s trade association, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), applauded the ruling.
“The Supreme Court’s commitment to uphold valid intellectual property rights in this case creates business certainty that will benefit all of biotechnology - as well as the patients, farmers, and consumers who benefit from biotechnology’s help in healing, feeding and fueling the world,” BIO President Jim Greenwood said.
The text of Justice Kagan’s opinion is available here: http://1.usa.gov/16ursLm