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About plant propagation laws (from University of Missouri)

Posted by perennialfan273 zone 5 (My Page) on
Mon, May 25, 09 at 21:02


I have asked people to trade for cuttings and/or divisions of roses numerous times, but every time I talk to someone, I always get the same response "they're patented". Anyways, I did a little research on propagation laws and I dug up this article from the University of Missouri.

Read the last paragraph in the article above, and then, AFTER you read the paragraph, tell me why you won't trade me rose cuttings!! If you read it, it states that the laws do not apply unless the plant being propagated is being sold for a profit.

That's all I wanted to say

Thank You

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: About plant propagation laws (from University of Missouri)

I believe the key to this is your definition of "personal gain"

Whether you received money from someone in payment for the plant you produced, or whether the 'gain' is the savings realized by producing your own plants and not having to buy them somewhere, the result is the same. It is against the law, and you are denying someone (the plant breeder, whether it be a large company or a small individual) the benefit of his invention. Period.

Just because you found this on a university site (which is great, BTW, for its description of various types of propagation) doesn't mean that it is the last word on the subject. The paragraphs you referenced are the author's summary of plant patent law, not the plant patent laws themselves.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who will trade cuttings with you ... just don't come out in public requesting a trade of patented material and expect to not be called on it.


RE: About plant propagation laws (from University of Missouri)

What aspect of the Garden Web Exchanges Forum Terms of Services do you feel do not apply to you?

From the following Garden Web terms page at

"Trading of patented material is unlawful and is strictly forbidden."

Regardless of how you wish to interpret Patent law, this lays out the terms of usage of the Garden Web forums quite clearly. How else can this be interpreted???

From the U of M article: "Homeowners or hobbyists are allowed to reproduce protected plants as long as the plants are not sold or otherwise used for personal gain."

The last five words of that sentence can be interpreted as follows: if you obtain patented plant material from another person, then it is your intent to obtain that material by means which circumvents the royalty fee process, resulting in the "personal gain" of a free plant. That statement is intended to convey the idea that an individual may propagate a patented variety for their own use, not for distribution to other individuals. I think the concept of "personal gain" in this context is quite clear: you stand to gain a patent protected plant for free. This is precisely one of the conditions that plant patents are intended to curb. You can rationalize it any way you want, but ultimately, the ToS of these Forums makes the conditions for participation very clear.

RE: About plant propagation laws (from University of Missouri)


In your own words from this forom "you have a license to own one copy of it." That is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard!! Why, I have some plants in my yard (patented) that I haven't even touched because over time they have multiplied on their own. Now, am I violating the law because I am allowing my plants to grow?! Riddle me that batman! Furthermore, if you want to harass me, why don't you go harass everyone on the plant exchange forum?! Are they violating the law as well by giving away plants that have multiplied and would otherwise be discarded if they didn't find a home??

RE: About plant propagation laws (from University of Missouri)

When confronted with the Garden Web Terms of Service clause that specifically speaks to this issue, you consistently ignore it and choose instead to shout louder and claim you are being harassed. I find that a most curious position to take. It appears you are willing to manipulate the information available to you to support your personal agenda and you are willing to ignore the facts in the process. I suppose that is your prerogative, but I think you'll find you have few supporters.

RE: About plant propagation laws (from University of Missouri)

Trsospero is absolutely correct when he wrote "you are basically buying a license to own one copy of it."

That goes with any copyrighted material. Here's an example that may make it easier for you to understand: My sons are both musical and messy. They have torn and spilled things on copyrighted sheet music that I have purchased. I believe that I have the right to make copies of the damaged music for their personal use. I do NOT have the right to make copies for others, for any reason.

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