A common concern for new plant breeders is, “how do I bring my new plant to market?” This is a very good question. Navigating the twists and turns along the path of new plant introductions in the garden world can often overwhelm new breeders. In this article, Must Have Perennials shares some tips.
Before you bring a new plant to market
You are probably pretty excited about the lovely new plant you have bred or discovered. However, there are some important steps to consider to ensure your endeavor is protected. You have put in all of the hard work, so you deserve to be compensated for all of your efforts. Before you publicize your new plant, it is wise to learn as much as possible about the plant patent process. Understanding the basics will help set you up for success when your new plant finally reaches the market.
From a horticultural perspective, it is important that you know as much as possible about your new plant. Do you have a sense of its stability? Have you observed it reverting or mutating? Do you know its maximum height and bloom time? You should thoroughly document your plant’s unique traits and characteristics to assist in the patent process.
What’s in a patent?
A patent ensures that other individuals, organizations, or companies cannot profit off of your product without compensating you, the plant’s creator. Plant patents typically provide protection for twenty years. A plant without a patent is considered “public domain” and can be propagated and sold by anyone who wishes to do so. Once information is in the public domain about the plant, you have a 12 month period from the first date of publication and/or sales to file for a US Plant Patent (including anywhere outside the USA).
It is important to resist the temptation to introduce your plant to the world before you have gotten all of your ducks in a row. Avoid posting any pictures, descriptions, or names of your discovery on social media or websites before securing a patent. You should also refrain from entering your new plant in contests or distributing seeds or cuttings to other people. The less people know about your new plant, the better protected you are during the patent process. For more information, check out the US Patent and Trademark Office’s plant patent page.
Must Have Perennials