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Biotech The Courts Technology

Supreme Court To Decide If Monsanto GMO Patents Are Valid 308

Posted by timothy
from the he-said-kill-it-before-it-grows dept.
tomhath writes with this exerpt from a Reuters story: "The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear an Indiana farmer's appeal that challenges the scope of Monsanto Co.'s patent rights on its Roundup Ready seeds. Mr. Bowman bought and planted 'commodity seeds' from a grain elevator. Those soybean seeds were a mix and included some that contained Monsanto's technology. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case over the objections of the Obama administration, which had urged the justices to leave the lower court rulings in place."
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Supreme Court To Decide If Monsanto GMO Patents Are Valid

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  • by terminal.dk (102718) on Monday October 08, 2012 @02:14AM (#41581857) Homepage

    He can probably not sell his seeds to Europe, we do not like genetically modified foods here. We let the americans be the Guinea Pigs of their own products.
    It seems like the US Government has the same slogan like "The Body Shop" when it comes to food: "Product not tested on animals". There is enough humans to test on.

  • by dgharmon (2564621) on Monday October 08, 2012 @03:48AM (#41582197) Homepage
    The short version: Don't own his own seeds and once you buy Monsanto seeds they own your business ..

    "A federal appeals court found that soybean farmer Vernon Bowman infringed on Monsanto patents when he planted second-generation soybeans [commondreams.org] that were the product of seeds he had purchased from Monsanto"
  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday October 08, 2012 @05:45AM (#41582681) Journal

    ... The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case over the objections of the Obama administration ...

    Why is the Obama administration trying so hard to stop the Supreme Court from hearing this case?
     
    Can someone fill me in, please?
     
     
     

     
     
     

  • by Alarash (746254) on Monday October 08, 2012 @07:35AM (#41583301)
    To be precise, the criticism was based on the fact that the authors of the study didn't release all of their findings because they want to point out that the European Union didn't publish all the findings of the studies allowing GMO on the market.

    And the author claims that a lot of the feedback is lobbying from Monsanto and others, but I can't objectively decide if that's true or not.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday October 08, 2012 @07:47AM (#41583399)

    In this case, copyright really should apply rather than patents (it doesn't seem to, but bear with me). The patent would cover the process used to create these seeds, I assume. I may be wrong, but that's all it should cover. The genetic sequence would be that part that is copyrighted in this case, if you believe that should be allowed (which I don't).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:01AM (#41583487)

    Having been sued by Monsanto before, I certainly hope, but will not hold my breath, that the patents are ruled invalid.

    My wife and I have 20 acres in rural country where we raise horses. They graze in our hayfields, which were contaminated by pollen from a nearby university where Monsanto does GMO research on insect-resistant hay and alfalfa.

    We were sued by both the university and Monsanto, along with many of our neighbors, for "stealing their proprietary, top-secret technology."

    Yeah, like we snuck into their fields in the middle of the night and stole pollen.

    They're called bees.

    Anyway, it cost us over $100K in legal fees, and were compelled to pay licensing fees. We decided to plow the hayfields under, but the court ruled we still had to pay annual licensing because the DNA was still in our soil.

    Now we pay Monsanto $15K/year for the dirt on our property.

  • by halexists (2587109) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:35AM (#41583735)
    So if much of the commodity seed out there is now roundup-ready, farmers may have an increasingly difficult time buying non-modified seed. That means Monsanto would have poisoned the well of the competition: natural seeds. There are two monopolistic behaviors here: protecting your inventive production method and choking out competing production methods through non-market actions. Patents are only meant to support the former, not the latter. Fostering market competition between production methods (i.e. GMO vs. non-GMO seeds) is the implicit aim of patent law (by promoting the creation of new production methods to be market-tested). The fact that life-based patents have the capacity to cross-breed (literally crowd out) or, at the very least reproduce themselves (having a market-crowding-out effect) should give the courts serious pause in upholding them. Both of these are negative externalities born by consumers of the competing products. The practical implication for a win by Monsanto is that patenters making life-based modifications will seek to make those modifications cross-breedable and pervasive to the "competing" natural versions, since contaminating the natural version will amount to "expanding the user base."
  • True Viral Patent (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bruha (412869) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:02AM (#41583919) Homepage Journal

    Monsanto knows their genetic patent is being spread by bees, and yet either nobody is correctly arguing this in court or nobody cares. If someone sued on that issue alone Monsanto's patents would be declared invalid long ago. All these farmers who have had bee by plantings of monsanto's seeds into their crops would be owed a lot of money.

  • This man is extremely dangerous not only for America, but for the entire world. Obama might not be any good, but Romney will destroy the American dream, and several other countries along with it.

    I don't disagree with your assessment of Mitt, but you underestimate the danger Obama poses. Obama has taken radical Bush policies and by virtue of Democratic silence, has made them the new normal. Obama continues due process free detention with nary a peep from his party. He has extended this radical policy to include due process free execution. Libya destroyed the war powers act (the liberal achievement from the Viet Nam debacle which tried to put the power of war with congress where it belongs), thus setting the precedent that a president can start any war, anywhere, anytime, and Congress can go get bent.

    These are dangerous and radical policies -- the type of monarchical powers we fought a revolution to escape. One man should not have the power to imprison you with no oversight, kill you with no oversight, or start a war with no oversight. The sad fact is, it took a Democrat to achieve all these things -- even GWB couldn't do the last two.

    That is the danger of constant lesser evil voting. It leads inevitably to more evil. I suspect that if Mitt won however, Democrats would go back to pushing back against civil liberties violations and war as a kind of political pressure point. Maybe not, but at least we'd then all be clear that Democrats are the "New GOP".

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