Seed Swaps

How do you find out if a plant has been grown and patented ?

06 Apr 2012
Storms 30°C / 86°F

I want to create my own plant for my daughter, by grafting … or other means… cross pollination? How will I be able to find out if it has/ hasn’t been done before? Where do I look? Plant patents?


It’s difficult to write patents and even more difficult to get them issued. Each country has it’s own patent system. Finally Europe has been consolidated, but Australia still has it’s own system. You have to do an extensive search on several. When you apply you need to list the countries in which you want coverage. I’d start my search on the US patent database, because most people filing patents select the US as one of the countries covered. I’d start a search in the USPTO database or the Australian database.

Here’s how it works. For instance if I patented a plant in the US, and did not select coverage for China, then a Chinese firm can produce the item and sell it anywhere that you did not patent it. The value of a patent is that no one can stop you from selling worldwide. The best way to file for a patent is to apply for a “provisional” patent, which will protect you for one year during which you can refine your patent and then file the final patent. This is how I normally did it. I have 33 patent applications filed and eight of them have issued so far. It takes between two to ten years to get a patent issued.

I’m not really sure if you can patent a grafting, because it is not reproducible. If you want coverage for a created variety of plant, I would suggest that you file for PVP coverage under the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act. I have never filed under the PVP, however it is a USDA protection, and I’m not sure of the process for Australia. There are treaties in place with Europe, Australia, the US, and “some” Asian countries, where the coverage would apply to any of the signatories. Here’s a link to the International version of the PVP. The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland). The UPOV database has over 575,000 registered plant varieties. I don’t envy your job of searching databases. It’s not a simple task because they don’t make it easy.

Posted on 06 Apr 12 (about 3 years ago)

Thanks for all that info! Very detailed and much appreciated. I have only just started grafting… and it’s not something I am familair with or really want to do…. but I cant get what I want here in Australia… so (bugger it) I will TRY to create it! I’ve heard that grafting the Heuchera’s is easy…. haven’t much info, bar the web…. so don’t hold yr breath….lol!…. If I can create the plant I want I will try and place a PBR (Plant Breeder’s Rights) on it… and hopefully have a lovely plant of my own!! Again… thanks for all your effort… you seem very knowlegeable.
Thanks!!!!! :D

Posted on 07 Apr 12 (about 3 years ago)

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