Organic Consumers Association

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Should Monsanto be Able to Patent Genes?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, and our Cloning & Patenting page.
Should a corporation be able to patent life and then legally restrict farmers from methods that have been used for 10,000 years?

Monsanto has made its patented genes the centerpiece of its business model, but there are plenty of people who think the very idea is appalling. Now, the Supreme Court may take up the question.

The case (Monsanto v Bowman) involves an Indiana farmer, Vernon Bowman, who bought bulk soybeans and planted them as seeds - something farmers had been doing for generations, until Monsanto came along.

In order to maximize corporate profits, Monsanto's contracts don't allow farmers to save some of their crop and replant the seeds: If you want to take advantage of Monsanto's designer genes, you have to buy them fresh each and every season.

Monsanto sued Bowman for patent infrigement (something that the company also insisted it DOESN'T do, as recently as this past February, when farmers attempted to get a preemptive court injunction against just this kind of suit).

Here's where the fun starts.

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