Breeders’ Choice: New Option for Protecting Plant Breeders’ Rights

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On January 6, the USDA Plant Variety Protection Office published a final rule implementing a provision of the 2018 Farm Bill addressing horticultural innovation. The new rule expands the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA), the framework under which seed-reproduced varieties are commonly protected, to include asexually reproduced plants.

Breeders can now choose among plant patents, utility patents, trademarks, and PVP certificates depending on the nature of their new variety. Each system has advantages and disadvantages from the viewpoint of scope of protection and costs. We’ll provide further resources comparing these protection options in the near future.

On a related note, AmericanHort and our international plant breeders’ rights partner, CIOPORA, recently nominated two individuals to serve on the Plant Variety Protection Board, a formal federal advisory committee that oversees implementation of the PVPA. Our nominees were Audrey Charles of the Ball Horticultural Company (IL), and Casey Whelan of Fall Creek Farm and Nursery (OR).

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