Posted on: 20 January 2016
As with all patent applications and other registration processes for protecting your intellectual property, plant patent applications are complex and full of details that are easy to overlook. Save time and money by making sure your first application is complete for the best chance at success during your first try. These tips will keep you from having to repeat your attempts to secure a patent a second, third, or even fourth time.
Wait for Growth
Even if it's the seed or juvenile form of the plant that's most valuable or important, your patent needs to contain information on every stage of growth instead of just photographs and written descriptions of the most commonly used forms. You should record data from a full growth cycle of the plant, which can stretch to a few years for trees and hardy perennials that don't flower within the first year of growing. The form of propagation doesn't effect this rule. Grafted and cloned plants need to complete a growth cycle just as much as hybridized vegetables and flowers.
Decide Between Patenting and Registering
Not all plant varieties can be registered through the patent office. Only asexually reproduced cultivars are patented. Any plant materials created through sexual reproduction or the natural division of rootstock must be registered through the USDA under the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA). PVPA registration grants 20 to 25 years of commercial protection for registered varieties, but it is distinct from plant patents. All types of plant variety registration, regardless of the office where the claim is filed, fall under the jurisdiction of intellectual property law.
Choose an Experienced Attorney
Having an attorney on call to review your patent applications and deal with any objections that arise in review can streamline the entire process. However, not all IP attorneys are equally versed in the vagaries of plant registration. Look for an attorney who has handled similar cases in the past, especially if you're a large biotech developer with dozens or hundreds of different products to protect. You may even need an entire team of legal professionals to keep track of the claims and make sure your development teams are gathering the right data during development to back up your patents and registrations.
A true innovation in the agricultural or horticultural world can pay off handsomely, but only if the hybrid you create is properly patented. Don't forget to add a Patent Pending or Registration Pending note to the packaging for your plants if you intend to start selling them before the claim is completed.
To consult with an intellectual property lawyer, contact a law firm such as Joseph E Mueth Law Office.Share