What Is a Plant Patent?

lawtrades plant patent greenery

Of the three major kinds of patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the plant patent is the most highly specialized. The process for issuing plant patents was created in 1930 in order to encourage the invention of new plant varieties. At present, plant patents protect unique asexually reproduced plants, save for tuber-propagated varieties. Asexually reproduced plants are often created by utilizing layering, inarching, grafting or budding from the rooting of an affected cutting. Hybrids, cultigens, newly discovered seedlings and mutant species may all be protected if they reproduce manners that are eligible under patent law.

Scientists, businesses, nurseries and even hobbyists wishing to protect their plant-related intellectual property may benefit from securing plant patents for any unique qualifying plants that they may create. It is worth noting that the formal process of securing a plant patent is highly technical. As a result, it can be very helpful to have an experience patent attorney aid in filling out necessary documentation and filing that documentation once it is complete.


When to Consider Filing for a Plant Patent

Plant patents were created in order to encourage the discovery and cultivation of unique asexually reproducing plants and hybrids. Partially as a result of protections afforded by the patenting process, the United States boasts an impressive number of novel species and hybrids on an annual basis. There is a significant amount of competition among businesses in particular to create the next “big” plant. In order to protect your unique plant from infringement, it is important to consider filing a plant patent as soon as you are sure that your discovery meets USPTO criteria.


How to Patent a Plant

As previously noted, there are many technical requirements involved in determining how to patent a plant. When working with your attorney to secure a proper patent, it will be important to provide as many details about your plant’s creation as possible. In order to be eligible for protection, an inventor must be able to clearly illustrate how the plant is unique and how the creation process may be duplicated. Including detailed photographs along with dates and data of any discoveries or developments into your patent application is crucial in proving that your creative process resulted in your invention before anyone else created a similar plant.

It is also worth noting that some plant species are more appropriately protected by utility patents. If highly advanced scientific forms of breeding were required to create your plant, it may qualify for a utility patent. This is the intellectual property process most often used by big business when protecting genetically modified crops.


How Long Do Plant Patents Last?

Your rights as the inventor of the plant will be protected by law and will be enforceable in court for up to 20 years. Once your plant is patented, any royalties associated with that plant will become yours to collect. Depending on the nature of the plant you have created, this kind of protection can become virtually invaluable.


Consult a Patent Attorney

There is little need to be intimidated by the plant patenting process when you have a skilled intellectual property attorney on your side. Please consider contacting the experienced patent attorneys at LawTrades as soon as you are ready to explore the exciting opportunity of patenting your unique plant.