Sustainable Pulse Slams US Supreme Court after Bowman Loses Monsanto Fight

Posted on May 13 2013 - 9:40pm by Sustainable Pulse

Sustainable Pulse would like to show its official support for Indiana farmer Vernon Bowman, who today lost his high profile lawsuit against Monsanto.

Sustainable Pulse Director, Henry Rowlands, stated: “The fact that the US Supreme Court has today supported Monsanto’s attempt to take over the world’s food system is a complete disgrace.”

The Supreme Court ruled today against Bowman who took on Monsanto in a patent dispute over genetically modified soybean seed.

“The question in this case,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for a unanimous court, “is whether a farmer who buys patented seeds may reproduce them through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission. We hold that he may not.”

Kagan said that today’s holding is “limited” and addresses only Bowman’s situation “rather than every one involving a self replicating product.”

She said she recognized that “in another case” at a time when inventions are becoming more prevalent, “the article’s self-replication might occur outside the purchaser’s control.”

Read the Full Court Decision Here

“If they then claim that I can’t use that, they’re forcing their patent on me,” Bowman said in February. “No law was ever passed that said no farmers can’t go to the elevator and buy grain and use it, so to me they either forced their patent on me or they abandoned their patent by allowing it to be dumped it with non-Roundup grain.”

According to a Supreme Court transcript from February, it is the beans that grew from that second batch which are cause for alarm.

“The problem for you here, I think, is that, infringement lies in the fact that he made generation three,” Justice Breyer said in the transcript arguing that the bean he bought could be used for any other purpose legally, except for making a new crop. “Now, there’s another law that says you cannot make copies of a patented invention. And that law you have violated when you use it to make generation three, just as you have violated the law against assault were you to use it to commit an assault.”

Bowman disagreed.

“Monsanto is just grabbing straws and it appears to me that the Supreme Court is buying it. No Monsanto literature was ever printed that said that I couldn’t go to the elevator and buy commodity grain and plant it if I wanted to.”

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2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. MLK May 14, 2013 at 17:30 - Reply

    Be sure to listen to the video! The information the farmer provides paints quite a different story from the article & other information I have read of this case. The farmer has an excellent point that if Monsanto just dumped their patented grain in with the other grain for farmers to buy at the elevator, how can a farmer tell the difference !? One could easily assume Monsanto must not care too much about their precious patented grain, unless it was done with purposefully? Seeds and food should never have been allowed patents. And at the very least, there should be restrictions which also apply to the seed patent owners. Preferential treatment should go to natural seed, its all so backwards.

  2. Phil May 18, 2013 at 20:52 - Reply

    This decision is very narrow, not really justifying the hysterical tone of your article. Bowman knew he was replanting GE seeds, since he sprayed them with glysofate–for 8 crops (years?)
    People who go off on their own, w/o consulting knowledgable attorneys or activists, result in law suits with damaging decisions. (note that he admitted not knowing ANY other farmers who replanted seeds from a silo–instead of using them for animal feed.) The real issue for us is whether these GE seeds should exist at all, should be patented, etc. His irresponsible actions didn’t challenge these fundamentals and as a long-time activist agst GE this sort of Lone Ranger mentality ticks me off.

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