Narrow Monsanto Patent Ruling Ducks Self-Replication Issue

By Bill Donahue (May 13, 2013, 10:01 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court handed Monsanto Corp. a big win Monday but avoided giving the kind of broad guidance some were expecting on the patent exhaustion doctrine as it applies to self-replicating products, leaving the door open to more fights over patented biotechnology and software.

The case centered on whether Indiana farmer Vernon Bowman had infringed Monsanto's patent-protected seeds for herbicide-resistant soybean plants by replanting harvested seeds instead of buying fresh batches from the agribusiness giant before each crop. Monsanto claimed Bowman had violated its legal rights to the genetically modified seeds, but Bowman argued the company's claims were barred by...

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