+1 212 318 2000
Europe, Middle East, & Africa
+44 20 7330 7500
+65 6212 1000
What does a Supreme Court case about the sale of soybean seeds have to do with life sciences? A lot, says the U.S. Solicitor General and life sciences attorneys.
Bowman v. Monsantoconcerns farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman who bought seed from one of Monsanto's licensed seed producers and did a first and then, much later, a second seeding. Monsanto claimed Bowman had infringed the patent and the technology agreement that was in force when he had purchased the seed. The lower courts found there had been infringement.
The “first sale” or “patent exhaustion” doctrine provides that the first unrestricted sale by a patent owner of a patented product exhausts the patent owner's control over that particular item.Bowman petitioned the Supreme Court for review, arguing that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit erred by refusing to find patent exhaustion in patented seeds after an authorized sale and by creating an exception to the doctrine of patent exhaustion for self-replicating technologies. Against the SG’s advice, the court granted review.
In his amicus brief to the court filed Jan. 8, the SG argued that the Federal Circuit’s ruling that patent exhaustion did not apply should be affirmed and stated that not affirming the ruling would also affect the “enforcement of patents for man-made cell lines, DNA molecules, some nanotechnologies, and other technologies that involve self-replicating features.” Companies marketing patented recombinant plasmids and transformed cell lines capable of replication “would lose much of their value if purchasers of patented bacteria or other self-replicating products could reproduce and sell those items free from the restraints of patent law,” the SG wrote.
Howard Bremer told BNA that the court’s affirming the Federal Circuit’s ruling would be the best solution and would prompt the continuation of the “motivation factor for the private sector to license self-replicating technologies for development and marketing under the auspices of licensing arrangements with universities and thereby serve the public interest.”
This is a case to watch.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).