Monsanto patent for GM pest-resistant crops to be tested in US Supreme Court

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th October 2012

The United States Supreme Court will hear the appeal of an Indiana soybean farmer, ordered to pay $84,400 (US) to Monsanto for ‘infringing’ on the company’s ‘patented Roundup Ready soybeans.’  The case is one of seven Monsanto cases listed for hearing in the US Supreme Court in relation to legal arguments about ‘violating the terms of use’ of the Monsanto Roundup Ready Soybeans.

The Roundup Ready Soybeans resist glyphosate-based herbicides such as Monsanto’s own Roundup, allowing farmers to use the product on weeds without crop damage. Due to the nature of the genetically modified (GM) soybeans, seed producers who include the Monsanto product in their crops are required to sign a limited-use license. Growers are authorized to sell only one second-generation Monsanto seed crop to local grain distributors as a ‘commodity.’

Vernon Bowman, an Indiana soybean farmer in his mid-seventies, is appealing a 2011 court decision that ordered him to pay $84,400 (US) to Monsanto in damages for ‘growing more soybeans than his seed purchases could generate.’

Bowman will appeal on the terms that an earlier court ruling said Monsanto had no legal rights to the products after the initial sale.

Oral arguments for the Monsanto patent cases are due to be heard in the US Supreme Court in early 2013.