Farmer infringed on Monsanto’s soybean patents, Supreme Court rules

Patent exhaustion did not protect Vernon Hugh Bowman, who must pay Monsanto $84,000

Elderly farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman planted the seed of infringement when he grew Monsanto’s genetically modified soybeans without paying for them, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday.

Bowman purchased the seeds from a grain elevator, and argued that because they came from the crops of farmers who had already purchased Monsanto’s seeds, the patent exhaustion doctrine applied and Monsanto no longer controlled them. Plus, he said, “I couldn’t imagine that they’d give a rat’s behind,” NPR reports.

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