Supreme Court hears arguments over soybean patents

Indiana farmer is the face of Supreme Court patent fight over genetically engineered soybeans

Associated Press
High court seems to favor Monsanto in patent case
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FILE - This July 5, 2008 file photo shows a farmer holding Monsanto's Roundup Ready Soy Bean seeds at his family farm in Bunceton, Mo. A high stakes dispute over soybeans comes before the Supreme Court, with arguments taking place Tuesday. (AP Photo/Dan Gill, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court appears likely to side with Monsanto Co. in its claim that an Indiana farmer violated the company's patents on soybean seeds that are resistant to its weed-killer.

None of the justices in arguments at the high court Tuesday seemed ready to endorse farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman's argument that cheap soybeans he bought from a grain elevator are not covered by the Monsanto patents, even though most of them also were genetically modified to resist the company's Roundup herbicide.

Chief Justice John Roberts wondered "why anyone in the world" would invest time and money on seeds if it was so easy to evade patent protection.

The case is being closely watched by researchers and businesses holding patents on DNA molecules, nanotechnologies and other self-replicating technologies.

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