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J.E.M. AG Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

534 U.S. 124, 122 S. Ct. 593, 151 L. Ed. 2d 508 (2001)

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J.E.M. AG Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

United States Supreme Court

534 U.S. 124, 122 S. Ct. 593, 151 L. Ed. 2d 508 (2001)

Facts

The Plant Patent Act of 1930 (PPA) provided limited patent protection for asexually reproduced plants. The Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970 (PVPA) authorized patent-like protection for certain plants that were sexually reproduced. However, plant patents were also issued as utility patents—that is, patents issued under 35 U.S.C § 101, the main federal statute establishing patent protection for new and useful inventions. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. (Pioneer) (plaintiff) held several utility patents on hybrid corn seeds. J.E.M. AG Supply, Inc. (J.E.M.) (defendant) purchased patented hybrid corn seeds from Pioneer and then resold them without authorization. Pioneer brought a patent-infringement action against J.E.M. in federal district court. J.E.M. attacked the validity of Pioneer’s patents, arguing that plant patents could not be issued outside of PPA and PVPA authority. The court found in favor of Pioneer. The court of appeals affirmed. J.E.M. appealed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

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