The Supreme Court will decide a case this term that has the potential to jeopardize some of the most innovative biotechnology research in the country and alter U.S. patent law in a way that would have profound consequences for a range of industries — from agriculture to medicine to environmental science — that rely on the patent system to make their R&D investments economically viable. Learn More
Bowman v. Monsanto centers on the infringement of patents associated with a biotechnology trait that is widely used by soybean farmers throughout the United States. But the legal issues in the case reach more broadly than soybeans or agriculture. The outcome of this case has the potential to determine the role the U.S. patent system plays in protecting innovation – both in the public and private sector. A decision in Mr. Bowman’s favor could render future innovation in a variety of easily replicable technologies — including cell lines, DNA molecules, and nanotechnologies — economically unfeasible, as biotech firms, universities, and other institutions engaged in research and development would be unable to rely on the patent system to protect against unauthorized copying of their inventions.