Monsanto scores two patent victories, while radish patent gets uprooted
Source: ISB News Report
On March 29, 2011, the Public Patent Foundation filed a preemptive against Monsanto and on behalf of family farmers, seed businesses, and organic farming agricultural organizations. The plaintiffs' success would prevent Monsanto from effectively raising a patent infringement suit against a farmer whose crops inadvertently contain Monsanto's patented genetically engineered (GE) seeds or patented GE traits. A judge found Monsanto's policy to abstain from exercising patent rights against inadvertent infringers to be a source of comfort, rather than worry.
During September 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patent Reform Act, hailed as legislation that overhauls the US patent system for the first time since 1952. Among other changes, the Act transforms US patent law from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system. The Federal Circuit decided one interference case on February 28, 2012: a dispute between Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Monsanto Technology. The court's decision leaves the burden of proving the earliest invention date on Pioneer's shoulders.
On January 31, 2012, a judge in the Court of the Hague considered the validity of a European patent on a new type of plant. The case started when Taste of Nature alleged that Cresco infringed its European patent by selling Red Radish Cress. The validity question hinged on an exclusion of patentability under article 53(b) of the European Patent Convention, which states that "European patents shall not be granted in respect of . . . essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals." Deciding that Taste of Nature's invention involves "[o]nly a classical breeding process . . . a method of essentially a biological nature," the judge declared the patent invalid.
More news from:
. Monsanto Company
. ISB News Report
Published: May 2, 2012
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