Seed Exhaustion: Quanta's Effect On Biotech Patents

Law360, New York (July 7, 2008, 12:00 AM EDT) -- The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Quanta[1] opens the door to rethinking the doctrine of patent exhaustion as it applies to patented seeds.

In Quanta, the Supreme Court held that the exhaustion doctrine terminates “all patent rights” over an item which was sold without restriction and which “substantially embodies” a patent.

The patent is exhausted even if it is a method patent. Although Quanta dealt with computer chips, the court’s holding will likely affect all technologies.

The agricultural biotech industry has shown particular interest in Quanta,...
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