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« Court Report | Main | USPTO Seeks Public Input on Application Drafting Practices »

January 14, 2013


Kevin, your use of understatement in the first paragraph had me rolling on the floor. Touche!

Looks like PubPat and the other kooks are getting what they want, because if ever there was a prescription for ending the development of genetically engineered seed, this is it. But we can rest easy, knowing we can go back to more conventional means of controlling bugs and weeds. Like DDT.

That patent system works the way Congress says it does. Don't forget that. You can disagree with the wisdom of a compulsory licensing system for saving patented seed, but there's nothing "ignorant" about it. And what exactly is the point in putting "organic" in scare quotes? Is it because you think those farmers weren't organic as defined by federal law? Any proof of that, or is it just defamatory? Or maybe you just think the whole concept of organic food is a joke? Or maybe you're just a shill? So many options.

The more government, the better. NOT!

Dear Josh:

That Congress can define how the patent system works is certainly true, but individual members are not "Congress" and are capable of ignorance. (Whether Congress as a whole is ignorant of how a patent system works effectively will be seen as the remainder of the America Invents Act is implemented.)

I did not intend to besmirch those who truly want to avoid genetically engineered foods. However, in view of the incapacity for traditional, "organic" means of farming to produce sufficient food for all, those who not only adhere to a personal standard of conduct but advocate for policies that would inhibit the application of tools like genetic engineering for enhancing yields etc. have a different set of moral issues to confront.

And with regard to "organic" foods, if you don't think terms like "organic" and "natural" are as frequently used for marketing to upscale consumers as they are to denote the absence of food additives or pesticide use, then Rep. Kaptur is not the only one who is ignorant. Or perhaps a shill.

Thanks for the comment.

Dr. Noonan,

What becomes of this bill if the Supreme Court decides that the first sale exhausts?

Dear Skeptical:

The motivation for it would die.

Of course, your question raises the possibility that recombinant seed companies may support or have encouraged this bill as a hedge against just that eventuality. Because per Josh, Congress decides what the patent system is, and because this bill also covers contractual payments the Court's decision against Monsanto would not totally vitiate the factual underpinnings of the legislation.

Thanks for the comment.


This bill by Kaptur shows the same level of ignorance and nonsense as the Becerra bill that tried to ban patents on "human nucleotides" (that's what the name of the bill said) but wrote the bill in such a way that it would prevent patenting of ANY NUCLEOTIDE, human or otherwise. As you say we can do without such "help" from the group referred to by Mark Twain (or at least Hal Holbrook who portrayed him) as the "insane asylum for the helpless."

"I'm from the Federal government, and I'm here to help."

Which Kev conveniently forgets is what the government is saying to everyone who gets hit by a patent lawlsuit. The entirety of your beloved patent system is government bureaucrats saying that they're there to help.

No, 6, it isn't. Patent infringement lawsuits are private matters, and neither plaintiffs nor defendants have the bottomless pockets to fund litigation that the Federal government has. Nor does a patentee have the right to do anything, just the right to exclude. Don't want to pay royalties - don't make the infringing product.

It's the difference between not shopping at a store and not paying sales tax. You have the choice not to do the former, but not the choice not to pay the latter (unless your idea of a good time is prison for tax evasion).

Not surprising that a government bureaucrat would miss the distinction but there you have it.

Happy New Year, 6. Thanks for the comment.

Dr. Noonan,

Contemplating the following:

(g) DEFINITION.—In this section, the term ''patented seed'' means seed for which a person holds a valid patent.

I am still wondering about the impact of a verdict of first sale exhaustion. Since such a verdict would mean that the seed (the res) would NO LONGER be covered by a valid patent, this law seems ill-crafted and would likely only cover seed not exhausted by a first sale.

I 'get' the possible hedge effort, but by its very words, this law appears to not reach that objective.

On the other hand, if the Supreme Court decision goes the other way...

"Patent infringement lawsuits are private matters"

Facilitated entirely by someone like me saying that I'm here to help by issuing a patent.

Kev, kindly remove your finger from the posting button if you don't know what it is that I'm doing nearly every single day of my life. I can assure you that it is, very much in a very literal sense of the words me saying "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".

"Don't want to pay royalties - don't make the infringing product."

But if you do want to make the infringing product: "I AM MOST DEFINITELY HERE TO HELP!"

And happy new year kev. Seriously though bro, you could at least have the class to understand what it is that you are doing all day begging for the government to intervene and "help" by issuing you something it has itself entitled you to.

Kevin: "sometimes, the scariest sentence in the English language is "I'm from the Federal government, and I'm here to help."

Just out of curiosity, can you name three other examples outside of the patent realm where you believe that an offer from the Federal government to help is "scary" (other than the circumstances described in your post, which you appear to be frightened by)? I'm wondering why you chose to quote this phrase, which strikes me as particularly odd in the context of patents.

6: "understand what it is that you are doing all day begging for the government to intervene and "help" by issuing you something it has itself entitled you to"


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