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SCOTUS to hear Indiana farmer’s case against Monsanto in February

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A patent infringement case involving a Knox County soybean farmer and an international seed producer will be argued Feb. 19 before the Supreme Court of the United States.

At issue in Vernon Hugh Bowman v. Monsanto Company, et al., 11-796, is whether the federal circuit erred by refusing to find the patent had been exhausted on seeds sold for planting and by creating an exception to the doctrine of patent exhaustion for self-replicating technologies.

Monsanto sued Bowman in October 2007 for planting a second crop of soybeans each growing season using seeds that carried the genetically engineered trait – developed by Monsanto – which made the seeds resistant to Roundup Ready herbicide. The company argued its patent rights were not exhausted because the patent protection is applicable to each generation of soybeans that contains the patented trait.

The U.S. District court of the Southern District of Indiana granted Monsanto’s motion for summary judgment in September 2009 in Monsanto Company v. Vernon Hugh Bowman, 2:07-cv-00283.

Judge Richard L. Young wrote, “In the end, despite Bowman’s compelling policy arguments addressing the monopolizing effect of the introduction of patented genetic modifications to seed producing plants on an entire crop species, he has not overcome the patent law precedent which breaks in favor of Monsanto with regard to its right to patent protection against the use of the progeny of its patented Roundup Ready seeds.”

In petitioning the high court to hear his case, Bowman cited Quanta Computer, Inc., v. LG Electronics, Inc., 553 U.S. 617 (2008). Here, Bowman contended, the Supreme Court’s ruling of the patent exhaustion doctrine extended to seeds when they are sold to a grain elevator.  

A number of organizations have filed amicus briefs in support of Bowman. These nonprofits include the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association, and International Imaging Technology Council; the American Antitrust Institute, National Farmers Union, Food & Water Watch, Organization for Competitive Markets, and National Family Farm Coalition; and the Public Patent Foundation.  
 

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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