published Monday, May 13th, 2013

High court rules for Monsanto in patent case

  • photo
    This file photo shows the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Supreme Court has sustained Monsanto Co.'s claim that an Indiana farmer violated the company's patents on soybean seeds that are resistant to its weed-killer.

The justices, in a unanimous vote Monday, rejected the farmer's argument that cheap soybeans he bought from a grain elevator are not covered by the Monsanto patents, even though most of them also were genetically modified to resist the company's Roundup herbicide.

Justice Elena Kagan says a farmer who buys patented seeds must have the patent holder's permission.

Monsanto has a policy to protect its investment in seed development that prohibits farmers from saving or reusing the seeds once the crop is grown. Farmers must buy new seeds every year.

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