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RE: [nafex] Patent Rights/Royalties- 3 questions
This is a response to an old posting. I hope you can pick up the thread.
In response to Dale Burkholder's message:
> Jim wrote:
> In any case, in the licenses being granted on many recently patented
> varieties, a clause is included to the effect that seedlings and sports do
> belong to the patent holder.
I would be interested in knowing examples of varieties which are in this
I believe US law allows use of patented material in breeding, and does not
restrict ownership of mutants to the developer of the original clone.
Canadian Planter Breeder's Rights does not prohibit use of their germplasm
in breeding. Use of ENZA varieties (from New Zealand) for breeding may be
prohibited without some licensing and royalty arrangment. UPOV
(International Union for Plant Variety Protection), of which the US, Canada,
and most Western European countries are members, states that use of
protected asexually propagated varieties for breeding is allowed. Sports
and genetically transformed clones of protected varieties cannot be
independently patented or used commercially without the permission of the
owner of the original patent, if that patent is still valid. Use for
research is not prohibited.
> My question:
> Does this only apply to the F1 seedlings, and later generations are
> If I use these patented cultivars early in a breeding program (my latest
> get-rich-quick scheme <g>) crossed later with unpatented stuff, am I safe?
If use in breeding is prohibited, then all generations would be affected for
the life of the patent. The patent would prohibit the development of the
first generation hybrids, and thus any subsequent generations would also be
> Related question:
> How about the availability of those unnamed varieties from the university
> experiment stations? I know Fackler sells some PRI stuff & Jim has a few
> Geneva varieties, but all the others we hear about occasionally, that
> weren't "good enough" to be released and named? This is NAFEX, we need
> apples the general public doesn't want.
The developer has the right to determine the distribution of these unnamed
selections. They would want to prevent someone from independently patenting
a selection they developed. In addition, some testing agreements for
selections not yet released prohibit use for breeding.
Since patenting is becoming more common, as opposed to unrestricted release,
they don't want to pay for patenting something that does not have the
potential for large scale commercial production.
If the selection is "good enough" for NAFEX and small scale growers and
home orchardists, then maybe they should be released as cultivars. The
problem is how to make that determination, given the usual limitations on
the number of testing locations. Since climatic adaptation may determine
how a particular selection performs in a given location, it is possible
that a selection that does not look good enough at the breeder's location
would be promising in a different climate; hence, the need for diverse
testing locations and consistent evaluation protocols.
Appalachian Fruit Research Station
45 Wiltshire Road
Kearneysville, WV 25430-9425
Tel: 1-304-725-3451 Ext. 353