Home > Regions > North America > The Supreme Court affirms patent owner’s rights

The Supreme Court affirms patent owner’s rights

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that patent exhaustion does not extend to the purchaser of a patented plant who then replicates it but does not pay the patent owner for that replication. Bowman v. Monsanto Co., No. 11-796.

In this decision, a farmer named Vernon Bowman purchased patented soybean seeds from Monsanto that were resistant to the popular Roundup weed killer. After reharvesting the seeds that he purchased from a grain elevator, Mr. Bowman saved seeds from that harvest and replanted them the following season, instead of purchasing seeds or paying Monsanto for those new seeds that he created.