"Supreme Court justices signaled on Tuesday that agribusiness giant Monsanto Co was in a strong position to claim that an Indiana farmer violated its patent for a type of soybean."
"In a case closely watched by the biotechnology industry, the court is considering whether Vernon Bowman, 75, had performed an end-run around the law when he bought soybean grain typically used for animal feed but planted it instead.
The soybean crop turned out to contain Monsanto's patented genetics. Bowman said because the grain he used as seed was 'second-generation' and not the first-generation sold by seed dealers, it was not covered by the patent.
The bulk of the argument focused on whether patent protections extended to multiple generations of a self-replicating product such as seeds, with several justices indicating that patent law should protect companies like Monsanto in such situations."