Published: Thursday 31 January 2002

The US Supreme Court has upheld the legality of patents for plants and seeds. The recent ruling will help the crop-biotechnology industry. But it has upset populist farm groups and anti-biotechnology groups. The 6-2 opinion has kept intact utility patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office in the last 16 years to many multinational companies. Large amounts have been spent by the US biotechnology industry to modify crops genetically.

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