Supreme Court rules for Monsanto in Farmer's GM Soybean Seed Case

"Farmers must pay Monsanto each time they plant the company’s genetically modified soybeans, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, rejecting an Indiana farmer’s argument that his un­or­tho­dox techniques did not violate the company’s patent."

"Farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman asserted that because the company’s herbicide-resistent Roundup Ready soybeans replicate themselves, he was not violating the company’s patent by planting progeny seeds he bought elsewhere. But the justices unanimously rejected that claim, with Justice Elena Kagan writing there is no such 'seeds-are-special' exception to the law.

'Bowman devised and executed a novel way to harvest crops from Roundup Ready seeds without paying the usual premium,' Kagan wrote for the court, rejecting what she called Bowman’s 'blame-the-bean defense.'

'Bowman was not a passive observer of his soybeans’ multiplication; or put another way, the seeds he purchased (miraculous though they might be in other respects) did not spontaneously create eight successive soybean crops,' Kagan wrote."

Robert Barnes reports for the Washington Post May 13, 2013.


"Monsanto Court Victory Could Have Big Impact on Biotech" (CNN)

"U.S. Supreme Court Rules for Monsanto in Patent Fight" (Reuters)

"Supreme Court Rules for Monsanto in Indiana Farmer's GM Seeds Case" (Guardian)

"Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Case Against Farmer" (NPR)

"Farmer’s Use of Genetically Modified Soybeans Grows Into Supreme Court Case" (Washington Post)

Text of Supreme Court Ruling in Bowman v. Monsanto

Source: Wash Post, 05/14/2013