Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:41 AM
UnrepentantLiberal (11,700 posts)
Bowman v. Monsanto: Is It A Crime to Plant A Seed?
Vernon “Hugh” Bowman, a 75-year-old farmer from rural Indiana, did something that got him sued. He planted soybean seeds. But Monsanto, the agra-giant, insists that it has a patent on the kind of genetically-modified seed Bowman used —and that the patent continues to all of the progeny of those seeds.
Have we really gotten to the point that planting a seed can lead to a high-stakes Supreme Court patent lawsuit? We have, and that case is Bowman v. Monsanto, which is being argued on Tuesday. Monsanto’s critics have assailed the company for its “ruthless legal battles against small farmers,” and they are hoping that this will be the case that puts them in its place. They are also hoping that the court’s ruling will rein in patent law, which is increasingly being used to claim new life forms as private property.
Monsanto and its supporters, not surprisingly, see the case very differently. They argue that when a company like Monsanto goes to great expense to create a valuable new genetically modified seed it must be able to protect its property interests. If farmers like Bowman are able to use these seeds without paying the designated fee, they argue, it will remove the incentives for companies like Monsanto to innovate.
Bowman is a character out of a populist movie — a modern day Mr. Smith Goes to the Supreme Court. If he had bought the genetically modified Roundup Ready seeds directly from Monsanto, he would have been required to pay the company’s technology fee. But Bowman bought his seeds from a grain elevator, which sold him a mix usually used for livestock feed –a mix that happened to include seeds that were progeny of Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready. Bowman argued that these progeny seed were not covered by Monsanto’s patent, so he had no duty to pay the company a fee.
2 replies, 648 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Bowman v. Monsanto: Is It A Crime to Plant A Seed? (Original post)
Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)
Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:02 PM
Gorp (716 posts)
1. Monsanto is out to kill the world.
If I buy a seed, I'm buying it, not renting it. We re-plant from seeds we've grown every year. I try to avoid GMOs, but Monsanto has "seed police" they send out to get DNA samples (illegally mind you) from farms near GMO customers and if there's any trace of cross-pollination, which is almost unavoidable, they sue the neighboring farmer on the grounds of patent infringement. Congress has done nothing to stop this practice. They get too much money from Monsanto, Dupont, and other agra-giant companies. Meanwhile, the small farmer (yes, 300 acres is small) are getting the shaft. It's just wrong.