Important points to know about plant patents

Glenn W. Peterson

A plant patent differs quite a bit from a design or utility patent. If you are thinking about filing for one in California, it can help to learn a bit more about the requirements and other details you will need to know for a successful application.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a plant patent is only available for discovered or invented species that have also been asexually reproduced by the applicant. It is important to note both parts of the requirement. A person must have reproduced the plant through asexual reproduction. It must also have been discovered or invented but must have been discovered in a cultivated area. In addition, it cannot be a tuber.

Some things that could exclude a person from being able to get this type of patent include it was sold in the year prior to the application or it does not differ from a known plant by at least one characteristic. Other issues could involve the application and not properly filling it out or providing the required information.

NC State University notes that an important segment in the patent application is the description. It needs to be complete and detailed. Images or drawings of the plant must be included to ensure a complete description. If color is an important feature that helps to distinguish the plant, then the image or drawing needs to be in color. The patent applies to the whole plant and not just a component of it, which helps to further distinguish this type of patent from other patents. The patent extends the applicant the rights to sell, use and asexually reproduce the plant for 20 years.