The first generation of the RoundUp Ready® (RR1) soybean trait patent is set to expire in 2015. This means that farmers can save seed with the RR1 trait for replant in spring 2015 if there are no other patents on the seed. Farmers will need to check with their seed supplier before replanting saved seed. Soybean seed can have both trait (i.e., RR1) and variety patents. Although, the RR1 trait patent is set to expire, there may be other trait patents and/or variety patents that prohibit replanting saved seed. If a farmer is legally able to save and replant soybean seed, the seed cannot be transferred or sold to another farmer. Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® (RR2Y) soybeans are protected under a different patent than RR1 soybeans. Therefore, it is illegal to save and replant RR2Y soybean seed.
Patents help fuel research and development by granting companies exclusive rights to make, use and sell the patented technology for a limited amount of time (usually 20 years). Without patents, there would be little incentive for companies to invest in research and development of new technologies.
For detailed information regarding the RR1 trait expiration please see: http://www.soybeans.com