The Future of Agriculture and Patents Together A Good Marriage or a Shotgun Wedding

As one who believes in the patent system, I believe it is a good marriage even though forced by the decisions of the US Supreme Court. As said in Chakrabarty and as reaffirmed in J.E.M. AgSupply, the limits of patentability are up to Congress. The Supreme Court's job is to interpret laws, not expand them. Thus, the ultimate destiny of application of the patent laws to any industry is completely dependent upon Congress. It is possible and likely that changes will occur in the future. For example, the religious and ethical views of species integrity are not to be taken lightly. While the anti-GMO view is stronger in Europe than in the USA, it is present in the latter and offers the potential to drastically change the landscape if politicians support legislative change. As plants are more and more viewed as a renewable resource for raw materials to be harvested and developed into not only food, but also products such as new drugs for health care and raw materials for the chemical industry, the worth of patents will become more and more apparent. Perhaps soybean and corn fields will no longer be viewed simply as rows of soybeans and corn, but rather as a factory of raw materials to supply the world with new drugs, chemicals and products. This far broader view of current farming offers the potential for a Midwest economic explosion - one which could dwarf the Silicon Valley phenomenon, if it happens.

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