Why does Monsanto enforce its Patents?

To understand why Monsanto enforces its patents through the Field Check Program, a discussion of patent law is an important starting place.

A patent is a right, granted by the federal government, to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention in Canada.  Why would the government allow a person to obtain a patent?

“By giving inventors monopolies on their creations for a specific time period, patents protect investments and allow inventors to profit financially from their creativity.

This in turn provides an attractive incentive for research and development, ultimately benefiting all Canadians. Without the possibility of patent protection, many people might not take the risk of investing the time or money necessary to create or perfect new products, without which our economy would suffer”.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office - http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca

If someone other than the patent holder tries to make, use or sell the patented invention without the permission of the patent holder, they may be guilty of patent infringement. In Canada, if farmers plant and harvest Monsanto’s patented technology without a Technology Stewardship Agreement (TSA), they would be infringing Monsanto’s patent rights.

The TSA gives farmers permission to use Monsanto’s patented technology. By signing this agreement, the farmer has a license to use our patented technology subject to certain terms and conditions.

There is nothing unusual about including terms and conditions in a license agreement. We face these types of terms and conditions every time we obtain a license for our car, our pets, or for the technology we use on our phone and computers. The TSA is a limited use license, it doesn’t allow farmers to distribute, transfer or sell the patented technology and it only allows them to plant the seeds on their own farm for a single season.

Monsanto invests in the enforcement of our patent rights through the Field Check Program for three key reasons:

  • No business can survive without being paid for its product;
  • Monsanto currently invests more than $3 million per day to develop and bring new products to market. If only some growers are paying the required technology fees, our ability to invest in research and development to create new products decreases.
  • When a grower decides to go against the terms of the TSA by saving and re-using seed, it is unfair to other Canadian farmers who choose to honour their agreement with Monsanto.