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Supreme Court Affirms Support for WilmerHale Client in Bowman v. Monsanto Ruling

May 13, 2013

WilmerHale secured a victory for client Monsanto Co. in a significant patent law case decided today by the United States Supreme Court. The Court unanimously held in Bowman v. Monsanto Co. that producing new crops of soybeans containing Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready® trait without Monsanto’s permission constitutes patent infringement. It rejected farmer Vernon Bowman’s defense that he had the right to make new copies of Monsanto’s invention under the “patent exhaustion” doctrine.

“It’s a huge victory for innovation. The Court made clear that strong patent protection is critical to preserving the incentives for innovation that Congress intended. The clarity—and unanimity—of the decision should put to rest any questions about the role of the patent system in protecting technologies like Monsanto’s,” said WilmerHale Partner Seth Waxman.

The Supreme Court’s decision affirms Monsanto’s victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which in turn affirmed a judgment for Monsanto in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

WilmerHale represented Monsanto Co. both before the Supreme Court and before the Federal Circuit. Seth Waxman argued the case before the Supreme Court, with Partners Paul Wolfson, Greg Lantier, and Christopher Babbitt, Senior Associate Weili Shaw, and Associate Ari Holtzblatt also on the briefs. Paul Wolfson argued the case before the Federal Circuit, with Seth Waxman and Greg Lantier on the briefs.