What if Seeds were not Patentable?

24 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2009 Last revised: 15 May 2014

See all articles by Elizabeth I. Winston

Elizabeth I. Winston

Catholic University of America (CUA) - Columbus School of Law

Date Written: 2008


In 2001, the United States Supreme Court held that seeds were patentable subject matter - a decision, I assert, of much discussion and little impact. Protection of agricultural intellectual property through private ordering, used both to expand the protection available through public ordering and to circumvent the restrictions public ordering places on owners of intellectual property, has provided the incentives necessary to promote investment and innovation in seeds. It has not been the patentability of seeds that has led to agricultural advances, but rather the profitability of licensing agricultural intellectual property. What if seeds were not patentable? So what if they are. Innovation in seed has been neither promoted nor incentivized by the extension of patent protection, but rather by private ordering and free markets.

Keywords: Patent, Contracts, License, Intellectual Property

Suggested Citation

Winston, Elizabeth I., What if Seeds were not Patentable? (2008). Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2008, p. 321, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1425850

Elizabeth I. Winston (Contact Author)

Catholic University of America (CUA) - Columbus School of Law ( email )

3600 John McCormack Rd., NE
Washington, DC 20064
United States

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