How To Avoid Violating Plant Patents

Limelight hydrangea

Continuing its mission to detect possible violations of plant patents and trademark program rules, Plant Watch, which represents Bailey Nurseries, The Conard-Pyle Company/Star Roses, Plant Development Services Inc. and Spring Meadow Nursery, has released a list of actions growers and retailers should avoid.

According to Plant Watch, the following actions violate patents and trademark laws and branded program rules:

Propagation of patented plants without permission from the patent owner or agent.

• Commercial production of branded plants without proper trademark tags, containers and/or patent information labels.

• Commercial production of non-branded plants in branded containers.

In addition to these infringements related to the commercial production and sales operations:

A nursery’s sales materials and websites are required to properly reflect proper patent numbers and trademark names. Nurseries found to be non-compliant are assessed a fine based on the number of unauthorized plants discovered, and the destruction of those plants is required.

Ask before you take cuttings or re-use trademarked pots and labels. “Creating Endless Summer wannabes puts you in the same league as those who sell pirated movies online. Eventually you will be caught and fined. Why take that chance?” asks Jonathan Pedersen, Brand & Business Development Manager at Bailey Nurseries.

“Plant patents and plant breeders’ rights are based on having permission to propagate; most branded plants are protected by strong trademark, patent and commerce laws,” says Peggy Walsh Craig, Managing Director, Plant Watch.

Plant Watch, which started in 2005, modeled after COPF in Canada, is a monitoring program established in 1964. COPF has been inspecting for Spring Meadow Nursery since 2008, resulting in more than $30,000 in fines collected during 2010 alone.

For more information on the rules for propagation and trademark use for Baily Nurseries, Conard-Pyle, Plant Development Services Inc. and Spring Meadow Nursery, please visit the Plant Watch website.

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