Source: Ohio State University

Saving soybean grain harvested in 2008 for use as seed in 2009 is unlawful except for a very few varieties, most of which are old and lower yielding than the more modern varieties. The Federal Seed Laws and Utility Patents prohibit saving the grain of varieties they protect. The seed of most soybean varieties currently on the market is protected by either the Federal Seed Laws or Utility patents. Following is a description of soybean variety protection laws.

The principal incentive for the development of new varieties is being granted the genetic developers for the exclusive right to reap the financial rewards of that effort for a number of years. There are two types of protection by which variety developers can protect their varieties from misuse and profit from the development of a new variety. These methods of protection are the certificate of plant variety protection granted under the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) and by a Utility Patent.

The Plant Variety Protection Act
This act was developed to promote the development of new varieties. It allows plant breeders to determine who can sell seed of their new variety, which allows them to recoup the funds expended in develop. This system provides farmers with a continuous stream of improved varieties with increased yield potential and resistance to insects and diseases, and improved adaptation to various growing environments.

The Amended Plant Variety Protection Act became effective April 4, 1995, and covers most crops except hybrid corn, and prohibited the following four activities without the authority of the varieties' owner:
a) Selling or offering a protected variety for sale.
b) Sexually multiplying the variety as a step to marketing it for seeding purposes.
c) Using seed marked or labeled "propagation prohibited" to grow the variety.
d) Dispensing the variety to another person without telling that person the variety is protected.

Seed protected under this law must be sold by its' variety name (except for turf, forage crops, alfalfa and clover). A producer who has obtained the seed with the authority of the owner may use the seed for growing a crop and save the seed that results from that crop for his/her personal use. He/she may not sell this reproduced seed to a second producer.

Title V: This option of variety protection allows for the sale of seed by variety name only as a class of certified seed. Non-certified sales are prohibited. Seed may be called "Certified" only after meeting all the requirements and standards of an Official Seed Certifying Agency, which in Ohio is the Ohio Seed Improvement Association.

Utility Patents
Utility patents are a means of protection for varieties with special characteristics, especially those developed through genetic engineering. Examples include Roundup Ready and Glyphosate Tolerant varieties and hybrids, Liberty Link varieties and hybrids, Yield Guard Plus, Hercurlex, Clearfield Hybrids, etc.