The last Monsanto-owned patent for the original Roundup Ready trait in soybeans will expire in 2014, and the last applicable third-party patent will expire in early 2015. Does that mean producers will be able to grow soybean varieties with the original Roundup Ready trait (often called “Roundup Ready 1” varieties) in 2014, save seed from the production in 2014, and replant that seed in 2015?

Maybe – but it depends on several other factors. Varieties with that trait will no longer be covered by the original Roundup Ready patent, but other patents, such as varietal patents that cover specific varieties of soybean, are likely to continue for at least several years after the Roundup Ready trait patent has expired. And varieties can also be protected by plant variety protection certificates or other intellectual property mechanisms, such as a license or contract.

None of this is to say that it will be impossible to save seed from original Roundup Ready soybeans and replant it in 2015. But producers thinking of doing so will need to check with their seed supplier to see whether this will be permissible for each variety they are considering.

It may be possible for producers to be granted a license to replant seed from original Roundup Ready varieties in 2015, but this will be determined by each seed supplier.

There is a very good web site from Monsanto that provides very practical answers to questions about what will happen after the expiration of the patent on the Roundup Ready trait: http://www.soybeans.com/

The FAQ section of that web site provides definitive answers on this issue.