Sakata Seed Corporation recently announced that it is joining the Vegetable International Licensing Platform (ILP), a private association based in the Netherlands. ILP members make all of their patents related to vegetable breeding traits accessible to their fellow members under the conditions of the ILP. The membership will give Sakata access to patents for the development of varieties that will enhance its research activities.
“The benefits of joining the ILP concern the interests of the breeder directly, and ultimately extend to the entire value chain including growers, retailers, and consumers,” says Alicia Suits, Marketing Specialist at Sakata. “Breeding companies choose to join the ILP to have easier access to patented traits, which will encourage more innovation and drive the industry forward more quickly with faster introduction of improved varieties. This, in turn, benefits growers because members will be able to focus more attention and R&D investment on creating new varieties that address challenges such as disease resistance and bring better quality products to market. Under the ILP, growers can be assured that members are guaranteed worldwide access to patented traits and patented commercial varieties for vegetable breeding to allow for greater contribution to our global food supply.”
The ILP is one of the largest global patent pools. It deals with patents covering biological material, important for the breeding of vegetables. Many large, small, and medium-sized companies dealing with vegetable seeds and seedlings are members of the organization, including Bayer, Enza Zaden, Vilmorin, Rijk Zwaan, Syngenta, and Takii.
The ILP pools and manages a large number of patents on normal traits developed by participant companies. Variety patents on commercial varieties are also covered by the ILP system. By lowering the barrier to entry to the utilization of patents, the organization aims to promote the mutual use of patents by fellow members to enhance the development of varieties.
Joining the ILP enables access to a large number of patents related to the development of varieties owned by member companies. Sakata will be able to use, in particular, commercial variety patents, freely for the breeding of new varieties. Other patents related to the traits of varieties, known as trait patents (a patent that protects the biological characteristics of plants) will be made accessible at reasonable license fees through negotiation between members.
Participation in the ILP provides Sakata access to new genetic resources. The Sakata Seed Group will actively use the ILP to enhance its research activities and accelerate the development of useful varieties.