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Old 10-22-2019, 06:12 AM
curwin is online now
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how to legally protect fruit varieties?


I was listening to a podcast where they discussed how new types of apples are developed, and trademarked.

That got me thinking - let's say a company puts tons of money into R&D for a type of apple. Well, the apples come with seeds - what's to stop a competitor from just taking those seeds and planting them? How could a company protect themselves from that?
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:09 AM
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The probability of growing an Apple tree from seed is very very low. You will most likely get a non edible fruit.

Apple trees are grafted just like many other known varieties of fruits like mangoes, peaches, plums, pears, .......


Grafting is a process where you cutoff the stem of a rapidly growing plant and join the known species scion on top.
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curwin View Post
I was listening to a podcast where they discussed how new types of apples are developed, and trademarked.

That got me thinking - let's say a company puts tons of money into R&D for a type of apple. Well, the apples come with seeds - what's to stop a competitor from just taking those seeds and planting them? How could a company protect themselves from that?
Monsanto did exactly that with their engineered soybean seeds. They will sue you for planting their second-generation seeds, whether you did so intentionally or not, because it violates their patent rights. SCOTUS has backed them on this matter.

Presumably the same precedent would apply to someone planting engineered apple seeds that are protected by patent.
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:27 AM
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In the US, development of new plant varieties is covered by the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970. This gives breeders 25 years of exclusive control over new, distinct, uniform, and stable sexually reproduced or tuber propagated plant varieties. An aspect of intellectual property (IP) law, it grants protection similar to that of patents, though the legal specifics are different.
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:49 AM
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Planting an apple seed won't get you the same type of apple you started with. All apples of a particular variety are clones.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:03 AM
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I learned from some food podcast (so take with salt) that varieties named "pippin" are happy accidents from discarded seeds (pips) that just happened to turn out to be tasty.

I'm seeing on Wikipedia article for apples that they have the highest number of genes of any plant sequenced.

Since they're extremely heterozygous and self-incompatible (must cross-pollinate) that's why the seeds turn out different.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:42 AM
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In the US, development of new plant varieties is covered by the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970. This gives breeders 25 years of exclusive control over new, distinct, uniform, and stable sexually reproduced or tuber propagated plant varieties. An aspect of intellectual property (IP) law, it grants protection similar to that of patents, though the legal specifics are different.
IIRC the Podcast went into this. Since the apple varieties are developed by a State University, the private grower cannot stop others from growing the same apple.

What they do instead is copyright/brand the name they market it under. So you can grow and eat Honey Crisp apples but you cannot sell them labeled “Honey Crisp” apples unless you have their permission.

Maybe someone like acsenray can shed more light on this.
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:16 AM
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Innovations at state universities are frequently patented and restricted. Does anyone know if this is different for agriculture?
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:27 AM
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Innovations at state universities are frequently patented and restricted. Does anyone know if this is different for agriculture?
IIRC it's been in the last 20 years or so that assorted universities have discovered that there's big money to be made in patents and trademarks. For a long time, research was freely published and widely disseminated and so too late to patent. Plus, much of it was pure research with no direct product/process application and so not patentable.
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:38 AM
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As noted, planting seed from hybrids often (mostly?) gets you different plants/fruit, usually inferior to what you started with. There are exceptions (golden rice is one).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf
Monsanto...will sue you for planting their second-generation seeds, whether you did so intentionally or not, because it violates their patent rights. SCOTUS has backed them on this matter.
This is a common misconception promoted by anti-GMOers. I have not heard of a single case where unintentional/accidental planting of such seed by farmers got them sued by the company, much less successfully sued. There have been cases where farmers deliberately harvested seed from a protected crop (in one instance buying up seed from grain elevators in the knowledge that lots of it would be the coveted Monsanto variety) and planted it without paying royalty fees. They did not fare well in court.

Another case:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsant...nc_v_Schmeiser
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
IIRC it's been in the last 20 years or so that assorted universities have discovered that there's big money to be made in patents and trademarks. For a long time, research was freely published and widely disseminated and so too late to patent. Plus, much of it was pure research with no direct product/process application and so not patentable.
The poster was using present tense, and developing apple breeds couldn't be more applied, so . . . no.
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