The Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save our Seeds (SOS) filed a “friend of the court” brief this week in the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case, Bowman v. Monsanto. The case involves Monsanto’s prosecution of Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman for alleged patent infringement because he saved and replanted his soybean seeds rather than purchasing new seeds for planting. Both CFS and SOS support Bowman.
The brief CFS and SOS filed claims to lay out a legal framework for why the Supreme Court should protect the right of farmers to save seeds.
“Patenting [seed] should not interfere with a farmer’s right to save seed,” Andrew Kimbrell, CFS attorney, said. “They should not resell them or repackage them or become competitors of Monsanto, but the seed they buy they should be able to use them in a natural way for planting.”
David Snively, executive vice president and general counsel for Monsanto, issued a statement saying, “The U.S. patent system protects — and should protect — the rights to easily replicated technologies like herbicide-tolerant seeds, just as it does for those who invent computers or life-saving medicines.”
CFS contends that the current intellectual property environment related to transgenic crop has lead to 10 multinational corporations holding approximately 65 percent of commercial seed for major crops.
The Supreme Court case Bowman v. Monsanto is slated to be heard sometime in early spring 2013.