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U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Farmer's Monsanto Seed Appeal

- Common Dreams staff

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear the case of a 73-year-old Indiana farmer who appealed a decision that he infringed patents held by Monsanto Co.

A federal appeals court found that soybean farmer Vernon Bowman infringed on Monsanto patents when he planted second-generation soybeans that were the product of seeds he had purchased from Monsanto.

The court upheld a decision awarding Monsanto $84,456 in damages, Reuters reported.

Bowman argued that the rights to the seeds had expired, Greg Stohr reported for Bloomberg.

The company claims to hold the rights to genetically modified seeds, and says farmers must buy them every year rather than planting any of the previous year's harvest.

Monsanto is the world's largest seed company, with $13.5 billion in annual revenue. Monsanto's Roundup Ready seeds are engineered to resist herbicides such as Roundup, according to Bloomberg.

Reuters reported that the case would likely be heard in January or February of 2013.