Supreme Court Rules 9-0 in Bowman v Monsanto

In a unanimous ruling delivered today, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed its support for protecting U.S. innovations that are a critical part of supporting the world's growing needs. The case, Bowman v. Monsanto, centered on the protection of intellectual property and its outcome was crucial for innovations that deliver benefits to millions of Americans.

The Supreme Court's decision affirms the basic purpose of the U.S. patent system – providing an incentive to innovate by providing inventors a meaningful opportunity to recover costs on their R&D investments. The decision also reflects the Court's sensitivity to the importance of patent protection not only for agriculture companies such as Monsanto, but for the basic incentive structure the patent system provides for innovation.

"The Court's ruling today ensures that longstanding principles of patent law apply to breakthrough 21st century technologies that are central to meeting the growing demands of our planet and its people," said David F. Snively, Executive Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of Monsanto. "The ruling also provides assurance to all inventors throughout the public and private sectors that they can and should continue to invest in innovation that feeds people, improves lives, creates jobs, and allows America to keep its competitive edge."

American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Canton, Miss.-based soybean farmer Danny Murphy welcomed the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling today in Bowman v. Monsanto. The court’s 9-0 ruling expresses support for the protection of intellectual property. Murphy commented on the case’s broad implications for agricultural innovation:

“By ruling unanimously in favor of maintaining the integrity of intellectual property laws, the Supreme Court has ensured that America’s soybean farmers, of which Mr. Bowman is one, can continue to rely on the technological innovation that has pushed American agriculture to the forefront of the effort to feed a global population projected to pass 9 billion by 2050.

“Revolutions in seed science have enabled soybean farmers to produce more food, feed, fiber and fuel with significantly reduced strain on resources. Without the protection of intellectual property that the court reaffirmed today, the companies on whom my fellow soybean farmers and I rely would have no real incentive to make the investments necessary to develop new soybean varieties that yield more, resist disease, weeds, and pests, are drought tolerant, or have improved nutritional profiles."

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