About “Beyond the Rows”

Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Monsanto Statement on the Supreme Court Decision in the Bowman Saved Seed Case Featured Article

In a unanimous ruling delivered today, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed its support for protecting U.S. innovations that are a critical part of supporting the world’s growing needs. The case, Bowman v. Monsanto, centered on the protection of intellectual property and its outcome was crucial for innovations that deliver benefits to millions of Americans.

The Supreme Court’s decision affirms the basic purpose of the U.S. patent system – providing an incentive to innovate by providing inventors a meaningful opportunity to recover costs on their R&D investments. The decision also reflects the Court’s sensitivity to the importance of patent protection … Full Article »

Supreme Court to Hear Saved Seed Case Bowman v Monsanto Featured Article

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

Full Article »

Helping Academic Research Featured Article

By Dr. Robb Fraley
Chief Technology Officer 

In the early 1980s, I was part of small team that created a process to assist in the development of novel trait technologies. The process was called the Agrobacterium transformation process, and it’s still known by that name today. With processes like this one and continued advances in plant breeding, scientists at Monsanto, other companies, universities and research firms are able to develop crops with improved nutrition qualities, plants that can mitigate the effects of drought, and other important improvements to help farmers produce more food. 

At the time we created the … Full Article »

Transitioning Biotech Traits to “Generic Status” – RR1 Soybeans Featured Article

Monsanto is working with industry groups, in consultation with seed companies and farmer organizations, on mechanisms to transition proprietary biotech traits to so-called generic status to enable access to technology and farmer choice. 

This is a key issue in our industry right now, and the discussion has been generated in part by Monsanto’s first-generation Roundup Ready (“RR 1”) soybean trait because the last U.S. patent on that trait will expire in early 2015. Farmers and seed companies that want to continue to work with the trait will have to address the regulatory implications of that decision. 

Sustainability of Biotech Trait Full Article »

OSGATA v. Monsanto: A Ruling for All Agriculture

It’s been a favorite theme on social media for months: “300,000 farmers sue Monsanto.” The lawsuit was filed by the Public Patent Foundation on behalf of The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and others. It sought to invalidate Monsanto’s patents because of alleged fears of Monsanto exercising its patent rights and suing farmers if crops were inadvertently cross-pollinated. Monsanto had said its longstanding practice had been not to do that in the few cases where it had happened.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York considered the facts and the arguments. And then the … Full Article »

An Update on Roundup Ready Patent Expiration

Recent articles (see here, here and here) have discussed patent expiration for Roundup Ready® soybeans. In light of these articles and ongoing interest in the subject, the timing seems right to remind readers of our post-patent plans.

The last Monsanto-owned patent for Roundup Ready soybeans will expire in 2014, and the last applicable third-party patent will expire in early 2015. That means independent seed companies will no longer owe trait royalty payment to Monsanto beginning in 2015. Farmers will have access to a generic trait offering beginning in the 2015 planting season.

Monsanto has had numerous discussions … Full Article »

PUBPAT Allegations Are False, Misleading and Deceptive

On Tuesday, the Public Patent Foundation, a legal services foundation aimed at changing U.S. patent law, filed suit against Monsanto on behalf of organic interests. We’ve briefly read the allegations of the PUBPAT suit and press statement and find many of these allegations to be false, misleading and deceptive.

Here are the facts:

  • It has never been, nor will it be Monsanto policy to exercise its patent rights where trace amounts of our patented seed or traits are present in farmer’s fields as a result of inadvertent means.

Biotechnology crops have provided a wealth of benefits to farmers and the … Full Article »

Monsanto Plans for Roundup Ready® Soybeans Post Patent

The world’s most widely adopted biotech trait, Roundup Ready® soybeans, is set to go off patent soon in the U.S. – the last applicable Monsanto-owned patent is expected to expire in 2014. Although it’s still several years off, we’ve been discussing our thoughts about a post-patent environment for the past several years. These discussions culminated in communications with our seed licensees at the American Seed Trade Association annual meeting, held the first week of December.

As the company that first introduced biotech soybeans to the market, we’re also the first company to deal with figuring out what to do … Full Article »