by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 16th 2009 3:38pm
Dark Helmet points us to the news of an Associated Press investigation into how Monsanto basically cornered the market in seeds by using gene patents and coercive licensing agreements that basically make it impossible to grow certain products without having to first reach a restrictive agreement with Monsanto. And they did this all in about a dozen years. Gene patents are already troubling enough, and reading this report on how Monsanto used its gene patents to basically wipe out all competition is quite telling in exactly how patents can be used to significantly harm a market. Of course, beyond the ridiculousness of gene patents, this situation has been made worse by the recent Supreme Court decision that said that Monsanto could put an end user license agreement on seeds, such that even if you collected seeds from your own harvest to replant them, you could be found guilty of infringing on Monsanto's patents. The investigation here details how Monsanto basically has completely cornered the market, even limiting publicly funded research into certain seeds. And, of course, now the company is raising prices on various seeds when many farmers have little in the way of other options.
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