The Supreme Court will grapple with the limit of Monsanto's patent rights, whether they stop with the sale of the first crop of beans, or extend to each new crop soybean farmers grow that has the gene modification that allows it to withstand the application of weed-killer.
The company sees Bowman's actions as a threat both to its Roundup Ready line of seeds and to other innovations that could be easily and cheaply reproduced if they were not protected.
"This case really is about 21st century technologies," Snively said.
Bowman and his allies say Monsanto's legal claims amount to an effort to bully farmers.
The Center for Food Safety's Freese points out that Monsanto's biggest moneymaker is corn seed, which cannot be replanted. "So seed-saving would have no impact on the majority of Monsanto's seed revenue," he said.
The case is Bowman v. Monsanto Co., 11-796.
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