The United States Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear the court case Bowman v. Monsanto that explored whether Monsanto’s intellectual property rights extend to second generation seeds.
In a brief statement to the press, the company said:
The key issue in Bowman v. Monsanto was whether Monsanto’s intellectual property rights extend to second generation seeds. The infringer argued that Monsanto’s patent rights in seeds obtained from a grain elevator that were harvested by other farmers had been exhausted. The district court rejected this argument and awarded damages to Monsanto for the infringement. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that Monsanto’s intellectual property rights are not exhausted when harvested seed containing the patented technology is sold as a commodity. After the defendant sought certiorari review in the Supreme Court, at the request of the Court the Solicitor General reviewed the case and in August agreed with Monsanto that certiorari review was not warranted. While the Supreme Court has nonetheless elected to review the case, we remain confident in our legal position, and will ask the Supreme Court to affirm the Federal Circuit’s decision, which reaffirmed important intellectual property rights of significance to the entire agricultural biotechnology industry.