Joe Liebeschuetz, partner in the firm’s Intellectual Property Group in the Silicon Valley office, was quoted in a Law360 article discussing the importance of the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Bowman v. Monsanto Co. et al., in which an Indiana farmer violated Monsanto’s patents on herbicide-resistant soybean plants by replanting seeds, striking down the farmer’s argument that Monsanto had exhausted its control of the genetically modified seed.
"The case signals the Supreme Court’s rescue of a multinational corporation from the guile of an Indiana farmer,” Liebeschuetz said.
“Monsanto intends farmers to purchase a fresh supply of its patented herbicide-resistance soybeans for each new crop…however, an Indiana farmer found a loophole to this restriction by purchasing mixed seeds including some progeny of Monsanto’s proprietary seeds from another source,” he explained.
“The Supreme Court still found the farmer liable on the basis that patent exhaustion applies only to the seed sold and not to progeny seed,” Liebeschuetz continued.
“This finding for Monsanto favors protecting investment and innovation over the sympathetic perspective of a small farmer, and contrasts with the Supreme Court’s trend in limiting patentable subject matter in other fields."