Independent Expert

Professor Drew Kershen

Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law (Emeritus), University of Oklahoma, College of Law

Professor Drew Kershen teaches courses on agricultural law, legal history, professional responsibility, and water rights at the University of Oklahoma, College of Law. In 1973, he was named a fellow in law and humanities at Harvard University. Kershen is coauthor of Farm Products Financing and Filing Service, written in 1990 with J. Thomas Hardin. Kershen is a member of the Oklahoma Water Law Advisory Commission and the Order of the Coif; he is a past member of the Board of Directors and past president of the American Agricultural Law Association.

From this Expert

Posted On: Saturday, 8/31/2013 4:43 am
A: Although I am a lawyer, I pay close attention to claims about GMOs that may give rise to liability for a farmer, a seed company, a biotechnology company, or anyone else. Thus, if anyone anywhere had either claimed or proven a harm or illness from living near GMO fields, I feel confident that I would have heard about this claim through reports of regulatory enforcement or civil liability for damages. The answer to the question is straightforwardly and unequivocally, “No.” There are no such... Continue Reading
Posted On: Thursday, 8/22/2013 4:06 pm
A: Whether patents, or other intellectual property (e.g. copyrights), that create a monopoly in the invented item fits within a free market economy is a debate in which political economists have been engaged for a long time.  The Founders of the United States engaged in this debate too with some opposed to allowing a monopoly in anything and others, on utilitarian grounds, supporting the creating of a monopoly through intellectual property rights.  Ultimately the Founders decided in... Continue Reading
Posted On: Saturday, 8/10/2013 3:32 pm
A: To answer these questions, one needs certain background information and context involving law and policy.  After the background information and context, I can address the specific questions that you have asked. While the United States Supreme Court decision in Bowman does create a precedent that allows seed companies to enforce their patents in seeds against farmers who save seeds, the Bowman decision was not a surprise to those who knew intellectual property law.  Why? ... Continue Reading
Posted On: Tuesday, 7/23/2013 7:26 pm
A: The simple answer to the question is yes. But the simple answer does not adequately provide an explanation or an understanding of the question. To achieve an explanation and understanding, it is helpful to rephrase the question: Does “intellectual property” allow a private company to own the seed created? Beginning in the early 1900s, scientists began to understand the process of developing hybrid plants. Scientists learned to develop two inbred parent lines that, when crossed, produced hybrid... Continue Reading
Posted On: Tuesday, 6/25/2013 1:27 pm
A: You are likely referring to the Farmer Assurance Provision included in the 2013 federal government Appropriations bill that was passed in March 2013. The provision was put in place to minimize some of the potential effects of burdensome litigation that has been used in the past to work around the well-established regulatory process of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and put a significant economic burden on farmers. Ironically, this provision directly protects farmers, not seed companies―but... Continue Reading
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