"Why in the world would anybody spend any money to try to improve the seed if as soon as they sold the first one anybody could grow more and have as many of those seeds as they want?," asked Chief Justice John Roberts in February during oral argument the case of Bowman v. Monsanto. In that case an Indiana farmer saved seeds from Monsanto's herbicide resistant soy beans and replanted them without paying the company any royalties. Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey looks at the implications of the case for patent protection of future self-replicating technologies.
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