Case Summary Citation

133 S. Ct. 1761, 185 L. Ed. 2d 931


This case addressed the issue of whether Vernon Bowman’s reproduction of genetically modified, patented seed stimulates the patent restriction a second time. Plaintiff Monsanto Company sued Bowman for patent infringement. Bowman argued the planting of a patented seed fulfills the right to use and resell under the Patent Exhaustion Doctrine and Monsanto wrongfully interfered with farmers’ practices, incorrectly demanding an exception to patent exhaustion. The U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously that to reproduce patented seeds without permission falls beyond the rights of patent exhaustion and it was Bowman who requested an exception from patent law, which exists to protect inventors and encourage innovation. The Court determined centuries-old agricultural practices are not exempt from The Patent Act, which requires payment for the right to grow patented genetically innovative seed.

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