Case Study: Monsanto Company v. David 516 F3D 1009

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United States Court of Appeals,

Federal Circuit.

MONSANTO COMPANY, Plaintiff-Appellee,

Monsanto Technology LLC, Plaintiff-Appellee,

Loren DAVID, Defendant-Appellant

Procedural History

Patentee brought action against soybean farmer, alleging infringement of its patent claiming gene sequence for herbicide-resistant plants.

On April 20, 2006, the district court entered judgment against David

Defendant appealed to The United States District Court of Eastern Missouri who held the ruling in favor of the patentee.

Defendant appealed to the Federal Court of Appeals.

Does a patent for a gene sequence extend to prohibiting planting seeds containing that gene sequence?

Is a farmer able to save seed from a prior year's harvest contrary to the seed company's patent on those seeds?

May an expert witness base his facts upon evidence that itself would be inadmissable?

May a contract provision appearing on the back of a contract when the signature is on the front of the page be enforced?

Facts

Prior to planting his soybean fields in 2003, David purchased 645 lbs. Of genetically-modified soybean seeds from Monsanto.

The amount of seeds purchased by Monsanto was insufficient to completely plant David's soybean fields.

David purchased over 1,000 gallons of glyphosate-based herbicide in 2003, a herbicide which would have killed any soybean plants not of the genetically modified variety.

Rule of Law

1. Patents for gene sequence can restrict the planting of a seed with that gene sequence, because the seed contains the patented genes.

2. The testimony of an expert witness is admissible if: based upon sufficient facts or data, the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

3. The existence of availability for the patents of plants under the Plant Patent Act of 1939 or the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970 does not eliminate the availability of utility patents covering plants.

4. In patent infringement cases that are exceptional, the court may award the prevailing party attorney fees.

5. Absent a showing of fraud, a party who signs an agreement is bound by it regardless if additional provisions appear on the back of the signature page.

Reasoning

Court finds that planting a seed with a patented gene sequence would invoke liability for infringement were that seed planted contrary to contracted agreement between Monsanto and David.

The only evidence entered to counter Monsanto was the testimony of David and his daughter, and David's testimony was deemed unreliable in light of his changing his story at least three times.

Koppatschek relied upon the test prepared by Monsanto, and this test is the type of test… [END OF PREVIEW]

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