Patenting and Protecting Plants in the United States

Patenting and Protecting Plants in the United States


The United States is considered to be safe haven for the breeders and cultivators for the protection of the plants. USA is proud of being a provider for protection under both systems such Plant Patent System and Plant Variety Protection. Plant Patent Law is nurtured among small minority of countries in which the United States is the   درختچه کامکوات – درخت کامکوات – گیاه کامکوات   most notable among them. The United States has to be appreciated for their management of their Intellectual Property as it has inculcated a policy which promotes a situation where anything made by hand of man under the sun are eligible for patenting.

Development of new varieties by traditional breeding is carried out by the two forms of protection through out the world. As the protection devices are primarily intended for the public welfare and the only the second priority goes to the inventor or author, as Congress envisaged, there is a little bit confusion arising as the public, in the case the farmers, are being affected their choice in the market. These developments occurred mainly due to some international conventions and with the advent of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) in the world trading system of the former GATT and the new World Trade Organization. Hence the focus of the brief discussion circles around the types of protection extended in the United States, the recent conventions and agreements like TRIPS and how it has effectively made an impact over the protection of plants in the United States and the aftermath consequences.

Solid base for the protection

Going back to the evolution of US patent, people of those time back in 1790 had generated an idea about the concept of patent and how it was put into use. There was an activating momentum in the field of plant commercialization with the backing of inspiring cultivation and with the planters transforming into the businessmen bent on introducing new plants reproducing them through cutting, grafting using other asexual methods which enable them sell them and make profits. When these breeders and cultivators using this opportunity made the patent office understanding their problems which resulted in Plant Patent Act of 1930. The breeders of trees (fruits-citrus and nuts), shrubs (azalea, viburnum etc.) and ornaments (such as blueberry, grape, raspberry and strawberry) were the main beneficiaries of the Act of 1930.

Before the Act it was believed that even the artificial bred plants were produced of nature for the purpose of patent law were not subjects to patent protection. There was an exclusion of sexually produced plants as it was believed that seed reproduction would not make a way for new varieties of plants under the Act of 1930. The interesting thing to be in this Act was the plant patent law was not incorporated in the general patent law. While enacting the Plant Patent Act of 1930, the intention of Congress was to extend to plant breeder the relief he deserves and the economic reality behind providing the protection getting materialized. And later on realizing the large input of time, money and effort of the breeder or cultivator in the development of a new plant variety, either by ‘traditional ‘breeding methods or by ‘modern’ molecular modification. With the entry of corporations in the field of breeding, it has become an inevitable from the marketing perspective of the economy to provide an adequate protection to them to come up with their technology in expediting the process by using winter breeding sites and genetic manipulation which might enable them to produce new varieties faster but at an unaffordable cost. The economic aspects are well considered and hence to recover the cost of research and development, the breeders are vested with exclusive marketing rights of the new variety. Thus the different types of protection such as plant patents, plant breeders rights (plant variety protection) and now utility patents are there which makes the plant protection enriched in the country comparatively.


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