WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A small farmer from Indiana lost his patent dispute on Monday at the Supreme Court, a ruling that could have enormous impact in a variety of biotech fields.
The justices unanimously said Monsanto, the world's largest seed producer, has intellectual property control over its best-selling "Roundup Ready" soybeans.
At issue is whether federal law blocks the reproduction of patented products without compensation to the original inventor.
Things like genetically-engineered seeds and live vaccines have been hailed as scientific and industrial breakthroughs, but can often be reproduced easily and cheaply.
Monsanto sued 76-year-old Vernon Hugh Bowman, who used genetic copies of the company's product without paying a "technology fee."
The St. Louis-based agribusiness giant claimed under its agreement with farmers, the seeds could only be used for one growing season, meaning their offspring could not be saved and replanted, without compensation.
The high court agreed.
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