Outcome of National Court Case Could Affect UGA

Athens, GA– An Indiana farmer is going head-to-head this week with one of the largest agricultural companies over seed infringement. Reporter Iris Garrett tells you how this particular Supreme Court case is significant to the University.

This is not a unique occurrence. The Monsanto company has been a Goliath to farmers for several years when it comes to patents on their seeds. This time, the agribusiness is suing a farmer in Indiana for using their technology without payment.

Vernon Bowman is the farmer and former, loyal customer of Monsanto.. until he planted a soybean crop with the Monsanto gene through another source. His argument is that he thought the company didn’t control this particular soybean, that he was getting different varieties, and that it would not be a threat to the company.

The court ordered Bowman to pay $84,000 for infringing the business’s patent. And he appealed and this week the Supreme Court will hear his case.

The university has reason to follow this case. The Associate Dean for Research at UGA’s College of Ag says the outcome has wider implications that affect us locally.

Some UGA scientists even do business with Monsanto. They think protection of intellectual property, or rather patents are a good thing.

Professor Scherm says that the regulations in place are there for a reason. Dr. Roger Boerma is the Executive Director of the Georgia Seed Development Commission and he agrees. The farmers have a choice in choosing Monsanto.

While Associate Dean Scherm thinks its a big case, Dr. Boerma thinks it will affect more than just that.

 

Iris Garrett, Grady Newsource

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