高等法院裁定农民“make” seeds

今天,美国最高法院 issued their 裁决 on the Bowman v 孟山都 case,一致支持孟山都。法院驳回鲍曼’孟山都的论点’s patent “exhausted”当他从谷物升降机购买种子种在自己的农场上时,他肯定种种子的行为是“making”这些种子,并且仍受专利法保护。这是一项狭义的裁决,仅适用于种子专利,但它可能对其他自我复制技术产生长期影响。
弗农·鲍曼(Vernon Bowman)是印第安纳州的一位农民,他在自己的农场上种植了转基因抗农达大豆,并签署了许可协议,不得保存和再种那些种子。但是,他想种第二季晚季的大豆,因为这种大豆的风险太大,无法证明为种子支付许可费,因此他制定了解决许可问题的计划。他买了仿制药“commodity”从谷物升降机运来的咖啡豆,这些谷物本来是要消费的,并从这些谷物中种下了他的第二种庄稼。他甚至向这些田地喷洒草甘膦除草剂,以杀死杂草和所有非抗草甘膦植物,因此专门选择了该性状,在发现这种作法之前,他在农场做了8年。
当孟山都公司了解到这一点后,他们起诉鲍曼侵犯专利权,并通过法院的两个级别胜诉。他向最高法院提起上诉,该法院选择受理此案。 双方都提出了自己的论点 在今年1月19日,媒体活动和投机声势汹汹。案子 引起了广泛关注 在农业界之外,因为对该案的裁决可能对其他形式的自我复制技术的发展产生深远的影响。
专利穷竭是法律概念,“专利产品的首次授权销售终止了该产品的所有专利权。”购买第一批大豆种子进行种植会“exhaust” the patent, and allow the buyer the right to use the soybeans produced from that crop for purposes such as processing, feeding to animals, selling to a grain elevator, etc. Bowman argued in January that patent 排气ion also applied to replanting the soybeans to grow another crop, hinging on the use of the term “make.”
Patent Exhaustion does not apply to the act of 制造 copies of an invention, which would still be covered under patent law and require permission of the patent holder. So Bowman’法律上的论点是,用种子种庄稼 植物正在生长本发明的副本, 但是农民不是“making” them。在 法律摘要 和公众意见, Bowman and his legal team argued that the act of farming itself was almost an accidental enterprise. Farmers are instead actively keeping seeds from sprouting as they would 自然ly do, and 通过 planting them are allowing nature to take its course.
来自 Bowman提交的简要资料,

美国最高法院,来自SupremeCourt.gov

Bowman’s use of 商品 seeds for planting has nothing in common with “reconstruction.” No parts were worn out and replaced; the seeds were simply used. 在里面 context of patented seeds, use as contemplated 通过 all parties to the first sale may simply result in the creation of a new item.
(…)
The seeds at issue here will self-replicate or “sprout” unless stored in a controlled manner to prevent this 自然 occurrence. Humans can (and most often do) assist in the process of self-replication. For instance, Bowman planted Roundup Ready® seeds and treated them with glyphosate. This activity led in part to the creation of new soybeans having the patented Roundup Ready® trait. But it was the planted soybean, not Bowman, that “physically connected” all elements of the claimed invention into an “operable whole.”

在里面 裁决 由卡根大法官(Kagan)撰写,这一论点被强烈拒绝。

埃琳娜·卡根(Elena 加根)法官

The 排气ion doctrine does not enable Bowman to 使 additional patented soybeans without 孟山都’s permission (either express or implied). And that is precisely what Bowman did. He took the soybeans he purchased home; planted them in his fields at the time he thought best; applied glyphosate to kill weeds (as well as any soy plants lacking the Roundup Ready trait); and finally harvested more (many more) beans than he started with. 当原始产品是种子时,用鲍曼的话来说就是“制造新产品”的方式。 (强调)

为了加点,他们补充说,

Still, Bowman has another seeds-are-special argument: that soybeans 自然ly “self-replicate or ‘sprout’ unless stored in a controlled manner,” and thus “it was the planted soybean, not Bowman” himself, that made replicas of 孟山都’s patented invention. “[F]armers, when they plant seeds, they don’t exercise any control. . . over their crop” or “over the creative process”. But we think that blame-the-bean defense tough to credit. Bowman was not a passive observer of his soybeans’ multiplication; or put another way, the seeds he purchased (miraculous though they might be in other respects) did not spontaneously create eight successive soybean crops.

换句话说,最高法院确认这显然是显而易见的:农民在种植农作物时积极地创造或制造种子。在他的法院案情摘要中清楚地表明了鲍曼在种植这些农作物的过程中所起的作用,而这一事实并没有被9个大法官以9比0反对他的事实所遗漏。的 非常容易理解的裁决spent considerable effort to outline the reasons why 排气ing a patent after only one generation of growing a crop from genetically engiineered seeds would effectively undermine the entire patent concept, and reduce the patent monopoly from twenty years to less than one. Their reasoning was motivated 通过 the directives of Congress on maintaining reliable incentives for the invention of new and useful technologies.
Another argument made 通过 Bowman also did not escape notice of the Court. He argued that planting is the 自然 consequence of seeds, even when they are sold 通过 a grain elevator with the intention of being processed into food or other products. This line of argumentation led George Kimbrell and Debbie Barker from the Center for Food Safety (CFS), 甚至在《洛杉矶时报》社论中说,转基因大豆是“natural products.”

孟山都’声称它拥有自我复制的权利 自然 product 应该引起关注。

他们采取的不自然立场。

孟山都声称不是对任何种子,而是对转基因种子的所有权,因此金布雷尔将转基因种子描述为天然产物。短暂地支持鲍曼(Bowman)的食品安全中心(Center for Food Safety)长期以来一直认为,转基因农作物不是天然的,因此,这种观点所带来的这种明显的地位变化是重要的。如果种子不是自然的,则没有先例可以证明“自然且可预见的使用”他们是为了补植。因此,与先前的陈述相反,他们需要争辩说第二代基因工程种子的生长自然。术语“natural” 在CFS提交的摘要中被广泛使用.
评论员注意到 that planting 商品 beans intended for processing was deviating from the foreseeable use of those beans. Moreover, 正如农民布莱恩·斯科特(Brian Scott)指出的那样, planting generic 商品 soybeans is not good agronomic practice. Soybeans come in different maturity types bred for different regions, and will reach harvest at different dates after planting. By planting a mixture of maturity types, which are mixed together at the grain elevator, the crop will be inconsistent in maturity during growth and harvesting.
高等法院还针对“natural use” argument.

Bowman himself stands in a peculiarly poor position to assert such a claim. As noted earlier, the 商品 soybeans he purchased were intended not for planting, but for consumption. Indeed, Bowman conceded in deposition testimony that he knew of no other farmer who employed beans bought from a grain elevator to grow a new crop. So a non-replicating use of the 商品 beans at issue here was not just available, but standard fare.

预计该案将对其他自我复制技术产生深远的影响,但是,法院明确地远离这种广泛的裁决。

我们今天的业务量是有限的,只能解决摆在我们面前的情况,而不是涉及每个涉及自我复制产品的情况。我们认识到,这样的发明正变得越来越普遍,复杂和多样化。

尽管如此,今天背后提出的推理’该裁决可能会对其他自我复制技术的发展产生长期影响,这表明随着这些技术的成熟,它们也可能会受到保护,免遭未经许可的复制。

RepRap:开发自复制3d打印机的项目。此类技术肯定会受到Bowman v 孟山都等案的影响

也可以看看:

纽约时报的裁决.
美国大豆协会声明,欢迎该裁决。
食品安全中心声明,这与该裁定不符。

向上滑动