Friday, January 11, 2008

Supreme Court sides with Monsanto against farmer who used its leftover but patented seed

The U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, sided this week with Monsanto, the multinational agricultural company, in its patent dispute with a Mississippi farmer, reports the St. Louis Business Journal. Monsanto is based in St. Louis.

"Monsanto successfuly sued Homan McFarling, a Mississippi farmer, in 1999 for saving and replanting its patented Roundup Ready soybean seeds, Monsanto spokeswoman Geri Berdak said," the Business Journal writes. "McFarling used the seeds in 1998 and then re-used them in following years prompting the suit, {Monsanto spokeswoman Geri] Berdak said. A lengthy appeals process brought the case to the Supreme Court." The court upheld lower-court rulings that sided with the trial jury and awarded $375,000 in damages to Monsanto.

"The Supreme Court decision helps assure continued investment into the kind of research and development necessary to keep growers on the cutting edge of productivity," Berdak told the Business Journal in an e-mail. "We believe strong intellectual property protection will encourage the investment needed to maintain continued crop improvement." (Read more)

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