Patented plants

peatpod(Z5b Ontario)July 5, 2006

Hi all. Does anyone know where I can find a list of plants that are patented and thus can not be propagated???


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merricat(Zone 3a Canada)

Hmmm....I'm sorry, I can't answer your question but I'm REALLY glad you asked it.

I have this bug in my ear (bat in my belfry?) about bacopa (maybe spelled "bacopia"). I can't afford it every year - it's 6 or $7 a plant! - but the one I have just keeps putting down roots on its own and making new "babies". So I just split off the bits and stuff them into a basket....and then someone tells me it's a "Patented plant".

Really, what does that mean? That you can't seed and sell them? How on earth do you patent horticulture? My bac. just keeps on going (sort of like my spider plants), and I just let it. Actually, it's so strong I think it would keep on rooting even if I ignored it completely.

But this idea of "commercially sacred plants" I the only one who finds it ridiculous, or is there a perfectly good reason and I'm just missing it?

You may find this interesting: it's about the patenting of life forms in Canada. It reads, in part:

"In the Monsanto case, a 5-4 majority of the Court has ruled that, even though plants are not patentable in Canada, a patent on a plant cell or a modified gene in a cell gives the patent-holder the right to control what others do with the plants because each individual cell in the plant contains the modified gene. (...)"

So where does this leave us, legally speaking?

Another article, titled "Time to deconstruct our plant patent law to reasonably limit scope", can be found here:

All these links refer to Canadian law.

I can access the U of Alberta's Law Library, if you'd like me too. I'm quite curious about the whole matter myself.

A couple of things that might help:

If you want to dig a bit for relevent info, please call the 1-800-0-Canada line (1-800-432-3341). I use them almost daily for everything Federal-related. They're friendly and very helpful. If they don't know the answer, they'll find out.

If you have to phone Ottawa to get the list, go through the operator (dial zero) and explain you want to make a collect call (if you can't find a 1-800 number). I've made hundreds of such calls, and everyone from my Member of Parliment to the Minister of Agriculture has been courteous and helpful. I have my MP working on a tax problem now, and I hear from him every few days for a progress report. Sometimes they do NOT accept collect calls, but if you go through the operator she/he can explain why you're calling and they'll find out an alternate (local) number or a toll-free line.

Don't let the Feds scare you away. They're a darned good resource.

Finally, if you have a local library USE THE REFERENCE DESK. I can't emphasize this too much. They have called around the world for me, answering some pretty bizarre questions (I'm a writer). The Edmonton Public Library system is the best I've found in 6 countries, but all library reference desks are an excellent starting point.

Hope this helps a little.


Here is a link that might be useful: Rationalizing Patent Law in the Age of Biotechnology

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 2:44AM
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sharon_sd(SW ON)

A modified gene is a different issue from a plant that is developed using traditional propagation methods.

However, in any case, the name (e.g. "Stella d'Oro" daylily) will be subject to copyright laws. You would not be allowed to sell plants by that given name.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 7:19AM
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janetr(Ottawa USDA 4a)

It is my understanding (and it's only worth what it's worth, which isn't much) that propagation for purely personal reasons is acceptable. In any event, the chance of the police coming around and ogling your plants to check is not exactly high.

Propagating them and selling them is quite another matter.

Janet's Garden

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 12:56PM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

Hey Laura, I don't believe there is one exclusive list out there to list all breeders patented plants, that would be surely a mile long ;)

Proven Winners does have their own list and agreement if that helps any.

You might want to Google plant patent (PPAF) or Plant Breeders Rights (PBRAF) for a specific plant.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 4:24PM
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