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CropLife America Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Modern Agriculture
May 13, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC – CropLife America (CLA) welcomes the unanimous decision issued today in the case of Bowman v. Monsanto, in which the Supreme Court recognizes the importance of upholding intellectual property rights for the development of valuable tools for modern agriculture. The Supreme Court decision was authored by Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote, “In the case at hand, Bowman planted Monsanto's patented soybeans solely to make and market replicas of them, thus depriving the company of the reward patent law provides for the sale of each article. Patent exhaustion provides no haven for that conduct. We accordingly affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.”
In the case, Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman was sued by Monsanto Company for purchasing Monsanto-patented soybeans from a commodity grain elevator, planting the seeds, then spraying the field with glyphosate. CLA filed an amicus brief on January 23, 2013 arguing in favor of a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that protected the rights of patent holders. Additional amicus briefs were filed by other interested parties, including CropLife International (CLI), the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the American Soybean Association (ASA).
“The Supreme Court’s decision affirms the importance of investing in modern technologies such as biotech seeds, which represent just one of the many tools that farmers must rely on in order to meet today’s agricultural challenges,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “Continued innovation and improvement is at the center of modern agriculture, helping farmers to grow nutritious food through increasingly precise, sustainable methods. Without strict enforcement of intellectual property rights, agricultural innovations would be stifled.”
Rachel G. Lattimore, senior vice president and general counsel for CLA, added, “Intellectual property rights are vital in facilitating the invention of agricultural solutions that significantly benefit both farmers and consumers. The Supreme Court’s decision supports not only agriculture but various sectors that rely upon intellectual property rights in the research and development of advanced technologies.”