Quantcast

Friday, July 25, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 3 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

High court to hear farmer, Monsanto seed dispute

By Mark Sherman

Associated Press

POSTED:



WASHINGTON » The Supreme Court agreed today to hear a dispute between a soybean farmer and Monsanto Co. over the company's efforts to limit farmers' use of its patented, genetically engineered Roundup Ready seeds.

The justices said they will hear an appeal from Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, who is trying to fend off Monsanto's lawsuit claiming Bowman made unauthorized use of the seeds.

Monsanto's patented soybean seeds have been genetically engineered to resist its Roundup brand herbicide. When Roundup is sprayed on a field, the product will kill the weeds without harming the crop.

The Obama administration urged the court not to take the case and warned that the outcome could affect patents involving DNA molecules, nanotechnologies and other self-replicating technologies.

Monsanto has a policy that prohibits farmers from saving or reusing the seeds once the crop is grown, ensuring that farmers have to buy new seeds every year.

Bowman used the patented seeds, but also bought cheaper soybeans from a grain elevator and used those to plant a second crop. Most of the new soybeans also were resistant to weed killers, as they initially came from herbicide-resistant seeds, too. Bowman repeated the practice over eight years. Monsanto sued when it learned what he was doing.

The company has filed lawsuits around the country to enforce its policy against saving the seeds for the future.

Bowman's appeal was among seven new cases the court added today to its calendar for argument during the winter.

The justices also will consider whether a government's refusal to issue a development permit can amount to "taking" private property for which the owner must be paid.

The high court will review a Florida Supreme Court decision that sided with a local water management agency in a dispute with a property owner who sought permits to develop land classified as environmentally sensitive. Negotiations over the permits failed when the owner would not agree to conditions that included reducing the size of his project and paying for work on nearby government-owned land.

In earlier cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has required governments to pay for imposing conditions on development. The Pacific Legal Foundation, a property rights public interest law firm, is representing property owner Coy Koontz Jr.

In a case from Virginia, the court will consider overruling a 10-year-old decision affirming judges' discretion to lengthen a prison sentence beyond the mandatory minimum term set by law. At the time of the 2002 decision, several justices said it was at odds with the logic of a line of cases in which the court limited judges' ability to raise sentences above a maximum term, unless juries specifically identified the facts to justify the longer sentence.

The court also will use a Virginia case to decide whether states can keep out-of-staters from using their Freedom of Information Act laws to get government documents. Federal appeals courts are divided on the issue.







 Print   Email   Comment | View 3 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(3)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
niimi wrote:
Reusing seed is a very GreeN activity. Prohibiting that practice is GreeD!
on October 5,2012 | 12:53PM
false wrote:
This is nothing more than Monsanto trying to monopolize food production in America. As a result, you can probably expect a conservative Supreme Court to side with Monsanto.
on October 5,2012 | 02:20PM
PilaA wrote:
I agree with your comment regarding Monsanto's monopolization of the food production industry however I don't view the Supreme Court as conservative as most of the recent appointees are from the Obama/Clinton administrations.
on October 5,2012 | 09:49PM
IN OTHER NEWS
Breaking News