Monsanto v. David (Fed. Cir. 2008)
Once again, the CAFC has upheld Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Soybean patents and the company’s strategy of enforcing those patents against farmers. The facts here are similar to the McFarling case. David – is a big-time soybean farmer – was found to have saved a portion of his soybean seeds and planted them the following year. David also signed Monsanto’s technology agreement, in which farmers agree not to save and re-plant.
Here, the CAFC refused to reexamine the question of whether plant genes are patentable under Section 101 and J.E.M Ag Supply. Rather, the court is precedentially bound by the McFarling and other cases to find the subject matter appropriately patentable. David’s “inconsistent testimony” allowed the court to also agree that no clear error had been made in the lower court’s factual findings in favor of Monsanto.
The court also agreed that this is an exceptional case: “It is a case of a farmer with apparent disregard for patent rights, license agreements, and the judicial process. With that in mind, as well as the record evidence of David’s inconsistent testimony, we agree with the district court that this is an "exceptional" case.” Thus affirming the award of costs and fees.
- U.S. Patent No. 5,352,605 titled “Chimeric genes for transforming plant cells using viral promoters”. (See IPVision’s Map)
- Earlier this month, the Supreme Court refused to hear McFarling’s appeal on the first sale doctrine. However, there is some chance that the upcoming Quanta case will impact GMO licensing.
- Monsanto v. McFarling: CAFC Affirms "Reasonable Royalty" of 140% of Purchase Price
- McFarling Petitions Supreme Court to Hear RoundUp Ready Patent Case
- Monsanto v. Scruggs: Roundup Ready Patents Survive Appeal
- Monsanto wins in Canadian Supreme Court
- At this point, I should have included a witty turn of phrase about David versus Goliath.
Soybeans reproduce asexually and thus, the saved seeds were genetic copies of the originals — and thus covered by Monsanto’s gene patent.(Thanks G)