The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against an Indiana farmer who planted genetically modified soybean seeds in violation of his agreement with the seed’s manufacturer.
Hugh Bowman purchased Monsanto‘s (NYSE:MON) Roundup Ready soybeans for his 300 acre farm, agreeing not to collect seeds from the plants for future planting. He then purchased soybean seeds usually used for feed from local grain providers for subsequent plantings, assuming correctly that they would also be Roundup Ready, the Washington Post notes.
Monsanto sued Bowman, alleging that he violated their patent when he used Roundup Ready soybean seeds grown as feed to plant his fields. Bowman countered that the company’s right to tell him how to use the seed ended when be purchased it.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in Monsanto’s favor and order the farmer to pay $85,000 in damages. Bowman appealed. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed unanimously with the Appeals Court, holding that Bowman’s use of the seeds would have effectively destroyed Monsanto’s patent.
Last month, two researchers reported that potentially hazardous ingredients in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide could remain on foods, possibly contributing to a range of diseases.
Shares of Monsanto slipped fractionally in Monday midday trading.