Navigating all the options available for plant variety protection can be overwhelming so we are developing a comprehensive, Business-Focused Plant Protection resource to help you make the best decisions ~ the kinds of decisions that can lead to solid sources of revenue for on-going plant development programs.

Developing a "Profit Plan"

You probably didn't go into horticulture for the money...but every one has bills and plenty of plant breeders will tell you that at one time or another they've paid too much money for a plant patent, a trademark, or a Plant Breeder's Rights.  The costs can quickly skyrocket beyond the potential of revenue of even a well-selling plant.

Becoming educated enough to make good business decisions with far-reaching benefits and working with someone who combines business common-sense with all the advantages of strong intellectual property protection can make a success of your plant breeding program and help you gain a competitive edge. is a plant variety protection resource guide designed specifically for those in the horticulture industry and floriculture industry who are interested in protecting their plants in the global market. The details posted in this site are for information only to serve as a guide for effective business planning and implementation and does not serve as legal advice.  

This website is a service of GRIPS - GReenHouseIntellectual Property Systems.  
Thank you for visiting us and Keep on Growin'.  
Photo credit(s):

1. The beautiful glass greenhouse image is a Wikipedia common license image of Kadoore farm and nursery in Hong Kong 
2. Header photos are royalty-free from 123RF.
What Type of Plant Protection Will Work Best For You?

Plant Breeder's Rights (PBRs), Plant Variety Protection (PVPs), U.S. Plant Patents, 
or other patent type protection...

Preliminary Questions about 
Plant Breeder's Rights and Other Types of Plant Variety Protection

I want plant protection in the U.S.   What types of protection are available?

The United States has several types of plant variety protection available.  Through the United States Patent and Trademark Office, one can obtain a trademark to protect and restrict the use of the name of a plant variety you develop or a series of plants under an "umbrella" brand name.  

In addition to trademarks, there are two kinds of patent protection available.  Plant patents, perhaps most commonly known, are a traditional type of patent protection for asexually reproductive plants. Another option (although the cost is generally higher and the process is generally more cumbersome) is to obtain a utility patent for sexually reproducible plants.

Many people are surprised to learn that there is a "plant breeder's rights" application of sorts available in the United States, which is available for sexually reproduced plants.The US Department of Agriculture governs a program for Plant Variety Protection. Plants can also be protected via contracts such as Research and Development contracts and Licensing contracts.  Internal Trade secret policies are often used to protect proprietary breeding methods and details on the selection process and cross development.

Is a trademark good enough to protect my plant?

A trademark can be an effective strategy especially as they are (theoretically) a less expensive option than PBRs and plant patents, so if a budget is tight, plant trademarks are one way to build a strong portfolio, earn higher royalty rates, and lend protection for the variety but not for the actual plant itself.  Unlike a plant patent, a trademark does not offer legal protection and protection against infringement because the trademark does not extend protection to the plant.

How can I find a good plant breeder's rights agent?

A good plant breeder agent has excellent world-wide contacts so that when you have the opportunity to license to a grower in another country, they can point you in the right direction to maintain protection and control of your plant.  While an attorney can represent a plant breeder or organization through the PBR process, one does not have to be an attorney in most cases.  The attorney can offer legal advice; however, in most cases a U.S. attorney will not know the most current laws of all UPOV countries, so they will have to consult with a local attorney in the country of interest anyhow.  

Another important factor for a good plant breeder's agent is to find one that understands your business and your goals so that together you can make the most cost-efficient decisions.

International Plant Breeders Rights
Get answers.  Get it done right.  Get it done here.  Get it done affordably.
Budgeting for Intellectual Property

In a tough economy, plant breeders and nurseries need to tightly control costs.  There are times when paying an attorney for Intellectual Property protection is necessary and appropriate.  And there are many more times when paying an attorney is not appropriate!

Plant Breeders can save their budgets and increase their profit potential by using an IP consultant, like me, when it simply isn't necessary to incur tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to properly protect your plant.

I know how tight the margins are for plant breeders.  Saving thousands and thousands of dollars on IP protection, without compromising or shortcutting your protections, can mean the difference between a plant that makes a profit and one that ends up costing you money instead of making money. It can mean the difference between only having to sell 10,000 units to break even or 200,000 units to break even.

Don't worry.  I will definitely tell you when working with an attorney is necessary, and I can even refer you to one of my recommended IP attorneys.  However, and perhaps more importantly, I will tell you when working with an attorney is not necessary and I will save you thousands of dollars!

The first step to profit planning is to make sure you clearly know the advantages of all the different plant protection systems. This doesn't mean you need to spend time reading boring legal articles. Hopefully this site will help you get the answers you need so you can get it done affordably.

Let's start first by exploring what type of protection you think you might need.

  • Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR) Filings
  • Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Certifications
  • U.S. Plant Patents Registrations ...and more!
303-578-9835 (U.S.) 
Kadoore Farm in Hong Kong, image used with creative commons license
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