High-stakes fight over soybeans at high court

10:06 AM, Feb 19, 2013   |    comments
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By Mark Sherman, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman figured out a way to benefit from a high-technology product -- soybeans that are resistant to weed-killers -- without always paying the high price that such genetically engineered seeds typically brought.

So now the 75-year old farmer has ignited a legal fight with seed-giant Monsanto Co. that has reached all the way to the Supreme Court, with arguments taking place Tuesday.

The case poses the question of whether Bowman's actions violated patent rights held by Monsanto, which developed soybean and other seeds that survive when farmers spray their fields with the company's Roundup brand weed-killer. The seeds dominate American agriculture.

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