The American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) will hold its 33rd Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee from October 18-20 at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel.  The conference will focus on a number of agricultural law issues, including the farm bill, food law, agritourism, animal welfare, and many others.  Full AALA conference brochure available here.  Among the topics, one panel will focus on antitrust and patent expiration issues.

The panelists for Antitrust and Patent Expiration in Plant and Animal Agriculture will include:

Thomas P. Redick, Global Environmental Ethics Counsel;
J. Thomas Carrato, Monsanto Company;
Dr. Gregory Graff, Colorado State Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics; and
Norman Hawker, Western Michigan U. Department of Finance and Commercial Law.

In 2015, the biotech seed industry will begin to witness various first generation transgenic events go off patent.  As patents expire, and as regulatory approvals in major trade markets such as the European Union and China also expire, there is potential for these generic events to cause trade disruption if they are still being planted.  These events may be stacked in other non-patented germplasm, reproduced by farmers saving seed (excluding hybrids), or possibly used or stacked in proprietary or new patented seed products.

Thomas Carrato will address the industry’s new “Accord Agreement” to manage these risks, including an exploration of options to compensate companies for the safety data needed to renew and maintain regulatory approvals in countries where trade occurs. Dr. Gregory Graff will review opportunities for stacking generic traits with other traits also requiring import approval in major overseas markets.  Norman Hawker will address the antitrust implications of concentrations in the seed industry.  The panel will be moderated by Thomas P. Redick.

If you are a student, attorney, academic, or other agricultural professional interested in learning more about these and other agricultural law issues, as well as networking with inviduals who work throughout the agricultural sector, consider joining AALA today.  For more information on the AALA, visit the AALA website or contact AALA Executive Director Robert Achenbach at