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Seed Germination: U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Backs Monsanto's Seed Patents

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Michael_Ronayne
Nutley, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 14, 2013
7:12 AM

Post #9520028

On Monday May 13, 2013 the Supreme Court unanimously held that genetically modified seeds which are capable of reproducing, can have their patented extended over multiple generations, identifying the seeds as a ‘Self-Replicating’ Technology.

Supreme Court Backs Patents on Seeds (‘Self-Replicating’ Technology)
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/05/scotus-self-replicating-patents/

U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Backs Monsanto's Seed Patents
http://reason.com/blog/2013/05/13/us-supreme-court-unanimously-backs-monsa

BOWMAN v. MONSANTO CO. ET AL.
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-796_c07d.pdf

This means that genetically modified seeds can’t be breed without a license from the patent holder.

Mike
Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

May 14, 2013
10:00 AM

Post #9520243

Genetically modified patented seeds can't be bred without a license from the patent holder.

As far as I know, no genetically modified patented seeds are even offered for sale to home gardeners. So I don't see how home gardeners should get so excited about this, although it is obvious that many are. There is not a lot written into our Constitution about patents or plants.

ZM
Michael_Ronayne
Nutley, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 15, 2013
5:11 AM

Post #9521167

Zen_Man wrote:As far as I know, no genetically modified patented seeds are even offered for sale to home gardeners. So I don't see how home gardeners should get so excited about this, although it is obvious that many are.


Genetically modified purple Carnations in Florigene Moon Series™, growing on their own roots, were offered for sale in Australia in 2001. Here is the link to the announcement page which is still online.

You`ll be `over the moon` with this world first release!
http://www.tesselaar.net.au/flowerandgarden/2001_july.asp

I was able to verify the webpage using the Wayback Machine:

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.tesselaar.net.au/flowerandgarden/2001_july.asp

And even found an old picture these Carnations:

http://web.archive.org/web/20040317195859/http://www.tesselaar.net.au/flowerandgarden/2001_july.asp

My one contact in Australia who had the Florigene Carnations lost them because of weather conditions and by that time they had been withdrawn from the marker because of pressure from state governments and environmentalist organizations. You can read more about it here:

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=8868638

I have successfully cloned GM Carnations from cuttings, which flowered, but lost the plants to root rot. But I now know how to clone Carnations from cuttings so it is only a question of time. I am maintaining a line of white Carnations grown from seed, which don’t carry the terminator pollen sterility gene for the day when I will need a source of viable pollen.

I have not given up on finding someone in Australia who still has the plants but they are not exactly advertising in the yellow-pages. I remain confident in this search because anytime there is government suppression of freedom, there is always an underground.

Mike
Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

May 15, 2013
7:05 AM

Post #9521292

Mike,

The Florigene Carnations were marketed as plants, and not as seeds. Like I said, to my knowledge no genetically modified patented seeds are offered for sale to home gardeners.

Plant patents have been around for a long time. The majority of rose bushes are patented, and it is illegal to propagate them from cuttings without a license. Of course, people do take cuttings from their patented rose bushes from time to time, and the "Rose Police" are not there to stop them. Many of the plants for sale at garden centers are patented, and their propagation from cuttings would be illegal. But patented seeds, GMO or not, are not in the marketplace for home gardeners. So I don't know what the fuss is about.

For home gardeners to make an issue of this is a "tempest in a teapot". Sadlly, for fear of being boycotted by organic gardeners, most seed companies have published pledges not to offer GMO seeds. Which is kind of silly. Because, even if gardeners started to clamor to get seed companies to sell them GMO seeds, the companies would not do that, because they know that home gardeners would cheat on any kind of patent agreement. At least, some of them would.

ZM


lanakila

lanakila
Holly Springs, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 15, 2013
1:02 PM

Post #9521721

Zen_Man wrote:
Plant patents have been around for a long time. The majority of rose bushes are patented, and it is illegal to propagate them from cuttings without a license. Of course, people do take cuttings from their patented rose bushes from time to time, and the "Rose Police" are not there to stop them. Many of the plants for sale at garden centers are patented, and their propagation from cuttings would be illegal. But patented seeds, GMO or not, are not in the marketplace for home gardeners.


I agree; this doesn't affect the home gardener at all.

If you are a farmer who grows crops from GMO seeds, I can see how it would tick you off to have to buy seeds every year instead of collecting them from year to year.

It is illegal to propagate PATENTED plants, whether by seed, root, or cutting. All patented plants are hybrids. Some patented plants are naturally sterile, are engineered to be sterile, or saved seeds will result in plants that will revert back to breed type rather than retain their hybrid type.

You can propagate TRADEMARKED plants, you just can't call them whatever their trademarked name is. For example, you can't propagate from a Wave brand petunia and call them 'Wave' petunias.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 16, 2013
5:23 PM

Post #9523192

>> It is illegal to propagate PATENTED plants, whether by seed, root, or cutting

I thought there was one law that forbid asexual reproduction of some kind of "propagation prohibited" plants. And that applied even to soimeone who took a cutting from her purchased plant and replanted it in her own garden. (That applies to PLANTS and asexual propagation).

I thoguht the other kind of prohibition forbid you to produce more seeds from THEIR seeds (sexual reproduction) AND THEN SELL your new seeds.

It's an even vaguer memory, but I THINK the first kind explicitly permitted you to make crosses (sexually, produc ing seeds) using the new strains to develop newER strains. But you had to reproduce them sexually at least once before you started cloningyour newER strains (which would mess up the desirable hybrid genome, of course).

The second kind of prohibition (based on what some seed vendor said) forbid you to use their seeds in breeding to make new varieties of seed, AND THEN SELL your new seed. That's a more Monsanto-like scenario..

But I'm not positive.

And I always wondered how they "forbid" plants from propagating asexually. Would they arrest each runner?

Michael_Ronayne
Nutley, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 19, 2013
7:31 PM

Post #9526493

Zen_Man wrote:The Florigene Carnations were marketed as plants, and not as seeds. Like I said, to my knowledge no genetically modified patented seeds are offered for sale to home gardeners.

My apologies, you are correct. All of the plants I grow are perennials. Many times to obtain the particular color or flower form I desire, I must purchase the plants at a considerable markup and then hope they produce seeds, which not always the case. In the case of the Florigene Carnations my timing was off and I need to do the cloning earlier in the year. I know how to jailbreak the sterility lock and the hybrids should be legal in the US for now. A direct clone would not be legal.

I strongly suspect, with a better than 95% certainty, that Florigene Carnations have been hybridized and with apologies for the pun, are being sold under false colors. I am so sure of this that I research and put together my own low-cost paper chromatography kit, the plans for which I found online. I will expand the thread I started here in about two weeks.

Hybridizers: Chromatography of Flower Pigments
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1055248/

When I am cloning cut Carnations, the flowers are discards, now I will be able to start identifying flower pigments. I need to do the same for my Hibiscus hybrids.

For me the good news is that while the Court’s decision was unanimous, it was narrow and may only be applicable to Monsanto, which I suspect was one of Monsanto strategies. If Florigene wants the same protection, they will have to initiate their own court case, which may be easier, now that Monsanto has established case law. For now, other GM plants may be subject to litigation if hybridized, only Monsanto’s Roundup Ready genes are protected.

I would not start celebrating that your home garden is GM free just yet. In mid-2011 the USDA gave Monsanto permission to market Roundup Ready Bluegrass and Roundup Ready Bentgrass but Monsanto did nothing with the license. I believe that Monsanto didn’t want to muddy the water and waited to resolve their case before the Supreme Court first. While I have no knowledge of Monsanto plans for Roundup Ready Bluegrass and Roundup Ready Bentgrass, I suspect they will start selling the GM grass seed to golf courses first to be followed by home gardens.

Mike

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