According to the U.S. Supreme Court, Monsanto has the right to control our food supply. In a unanimous ruling released this morning, the nine Justices sided with the agricultural giant, and held that an Indiana farmer violated Monsanto's patent by planting seeds produced from genetically modified soybeans. Although the farmer, Vernon Hugh Bowman, acquired the seeds from a grain elevator, they contained Monsanto's patented genes, and thus the court found that planting them was a patent violation.
In Justice Elena Kagan's 10-page opinion, the Court deemed the soybean seeds to be copies of Monsanto's technology. Kagan wrote, “If simple copying were a protected use, a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the first item containing the invention.” And further, the Court reasoned that allowing patented seeds to be used this way, “would result in less incentive for innovation than Congress wanted.” Apparently, the Court believes this “incentive for innovation” is important enough to allow one company to control our food supply. Currently, Monsato's seeds account for 93 percent of soybeans and 86 percent of corn grown in our nation.
Less than a week ago, the Think Progress Blog reported on a study that found this Supreme Court to be the most pro-business court in at least 65 years, and this ruling exemplifies that study. By upholding Monsanto's right to have a monopoly on our food supply, the Court has, once again, ruled that profit is more important than people.
If the Courts won't stand up to corporate power, then we must push our elected representatives to start standing up for the people. Call Congress and the White House and tell them that no company has the right to control our food supply.
Listen to The Thom Hartmann Program weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL AM 1600.