Hastings Law Journal


David Catechi


Recent litigation over genetically modified corn reveals an increasing imbalance between the property rights of genetic seed manufacturers and the rights of individual farmers. Common-law property doctrines and traditional patent law fail to protect farmers leaving them exposed to both potential genetic contamination of their crops and costly patent infringement liability. This Note proposes a simple yet effective solution-Notice. Requiring patent holders to provide notice to alleged infringing farmers sufficient to enable the farmer to cease infringement balances the rights of both the patent holder and the farmer. Litigation in both the United States and Canada regarding gentically modified corn stands boldly as an example for the problems and failed solutions in this arena. This proposal, however, can be applied broadly to any patent which can duplicate through self-replication. Finally, this Note suggests that because this solution lies within the Patent Act and not through the creation of additional equitable doctrines it is likely to be supported by the Federal Circuit.

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