Last Month at the Federal Circuit
Last Month at the Federal Circuit

April 2012

Looking Ahead

On April 2, 2012, in Bowman v. Monsanto Company, No. 11-796, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the views of the United States.   The case involves the use of soybean seeds including Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready™ herbicide-resistance trait.

The issue is whether the Federal Circuit erred in Monsanto Co. v. Bowman, 657 F.3d 1341 (Fed. Cir. 2011), by:  (1) refusing to find patent exhaustion—a doctrine that eliminates the right to control or prohibit the use of an invention after an authorized sale—in patented seeds that were sold for planting; and by (2) creating an exception to the doctrine of patent exhaustion for self-replicating technologies. 

The Supreme Court will issue its decision on certiorari after hearing the Solicitor General’s views.