The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that U.S. companies that make and sell products abroad cannot prevent those items from being resold in the U.S., even at steep discounts. The decision could have repercussions that extend from U.S. trade policy to local yard sales.
On its surface, the case is about whether farmers can use seeds derived from patented crops. But the bigger question is, how much control does a company have over its patented products once they're in the hands of consumers?
Abortion foes say the U.S. Supreme Court's aggressive decision set the issue on the path toward becoming intractable. Others say factors besides the landmark case — including doctors, lawyers, President Nixon and the Catholic Church — more strongly influenced the state of today's debate.