Throughout history, farmers have engaged in the practice of saving seed from each harvest to use in planting the following year's crap. This practice, however; has been a significant concern for those developing new varieties of seed. The "terminator" technology was developed to prevent the saving and replanting of genetically engineered seeds by blocking the germination of these seeds after one growing season. The terminator technology, however; caused worldwide controversy over the scope of intellectual property protections for genetically engineered seeds used in agriculture because farmers believed that seeds incorporating the terminator technology would interfere with the traditional and historical right to save and replant seed. This Note argues that use of the terminator technology in genetically engineered seeds would be an effective way to enforce existing intellectual property protections and that public property doctrines would fail to recognize a common law right to save and replant seed.
Jeremy P. Oczek, In the Aftermath of the "Terminator" Technology Controversy: Intellectual Property Protections for Genetically Engineered Seeds and the Rights to Save and Replant Seed, 41 B.C.L. Rev. 627 (2000), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol41/iss3/4