Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Submission Summary: 0 pending, 30 declined, 3 accepted (33 total, 9.09% accepted)

DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Supreme Court unanimous: replanting patented seeds is patent infringement (

Theaetetus writes: Farmer Vernon Bowman used Monsanto's patented Roundup Ready (herbicide-resistant) soybean seeds for his first planting of the season, but had a bright idea for his second planting: he bought commodity seeds from a grain elevator knowing that most of his neighbor farmers also used Roundup Ready seeds. Bowman planted those seeds and used Roundup herbicide to kill off all of the non-resistant seeds, leaving him with only Roundup Ready seeds, which he then replanted. When Monsanto found out, they sued for patent infringement.

Bowman argued that the doctrine of patent exhaustion applies: similar to the copyright "first sale" doctrine, once a patented article is first sold, the patent owner loses further rights with respect to that item. According to Bowman, since the beans were sold to the grain elevator, he can purchase and replant them freely, right?

Not so, says a unanimous Supreme Court: "Under the patent exhaustion doctrine, Bowman could resell the patented soybeans he purchased from the grain elevator; so too he could consume the beans himself or feed them to his animals. Monsanto, although the patent holder, would have no business interfering in those uses of Roundup Ready beans. But the exhaustion doctrine does not enable Bowman to make additional patented soybeans without Monsanto’s permission (either express or implied)."


Submission + - Google claims open-source Android code is secret (

Theaetetus writes: "In what is claimed by patent pundit Florian Muller to be a procedural tactic, Google has asked the International Trade Commission to block testimony of a Microsoft expert in the ongoing Motorola-Microsoft patent dispute, on the grounds that code of the popular open source operating system is confidential."

Submission + - Illustrated Guide to Apple-HTC Patents (

Theaetetus writes: "Gizmodo has a illustrated guide to the patents Apple is asserting in the pending Apple v. HTC infringement suit. Readers should bear in mind that what is shown, however, is the title, abstract, and representative figure from each patent; the claims, which define the invention, are not shown, so immediate claims of obviousness based on the titles should be taken with a grain of salt."

Submission + - 5th Amendment and PGP: are passwords testimony?

Theaetetus writes: "In a ruling in favor of privacy advocates, a federal Magistrate has quashed a subpoena that would have forced a defendant in a child pornography case to reveal his PGP password. "If [the defendant] does know the password, he would be faced with the forbidden trilemma: incriminate himself, lie under oath, or find himself in contempt of court," the judge said. Under prior case law, courts have distinguished between requiring a defendant to produce a key to a safe, which is constitutional, and requiring a defendant to reveal a safe combination, which is "testimonial" evidence covered by the 5th Amendment. More here and here."

Submission + - DNA co-discoverer claims blacks less intelligent (

Theaetetus writes: "In a move that will surely raise angry debate, James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, has claimed that "black people are less intelligent than white people and the idea that 'equal powers of reason' were shared across racial groups was a delusion." Criticism has been widespread, with some anti-racism groups calling for Watson's remarks to be looked at in the context of racial hatred laws. Watson has previously found controversy with pronouncements that sex drive is linked to skin color, that "stupidity" could one day be cured through selective breeding, and that exposure to sunlight could make women slutty."

Slashdot Top Deals

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman