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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."

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