n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - Patent exhaustion, self-replicating inventions, and farmers' rights : reflections on : case note

Volume 25, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1015-0099
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2185



Since the 1980s, Monsanto has been an active participant and innovator in the field of agricultural biotechnology. The decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in 569 US (2013) () concerns patents issued to Monsanto for genetically engineered soybean seeds, called 'Roundup Ready'. (All page references in this case note are to the slip opinion, available at , last accessed on 20 November 2013.) Roundup Ready soybean seeds can survive exposure to glyphosate (N-phosophonomethylglysine), an ingredient found in many herbicides. Monsanto itself produces such a herbicide, called 'Roundup'. Farmers benefit from this tolerance to glyphosate, most obviously in that they can kill weeds in their crops by using herbicides that contain glyphosate, without ruining their crops.

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