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Patented Sarracenia; What does this mean for growers?

Zath

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While checking out photos of Sarrs on FB, I ran across the name 'Cobra Nest'. Looking it up on Google, I discovered that it's been patented by one of the co-creators, James Booman.

Patent US20020104139 - Sarracenia Plant Named 'Cobra Nest' - Google Patents

I'm unsure of how common this is with cultivars, or what it actually means for the growers. The parentage is unknown even to the creators (from seed produced by two unkown hybrids), so it's not something that is likely to be duplicated by trial-and-error.

Does this mean that division and dissemination of the plant by anyone other than the patent-holder is illegal?

If not, then what is the point of patenting it, exactly?
 
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Does this mean that division and dissemination of the plant by anyone other than the patent-holder is illegal?

If not, then what is the point of patenting it, exactly?

No, it means that in order to propagate it, you must either have a license with the patent holder or some sort of contract in which you agree to submit annual or semi-annual royalty fees for every copy you sell.
Without such an agreement with the patent holder, it is illegal to make copies and distribute those copies, whether or not money changes hands.

Addendum: do you know the difference between Patent, Trademark and Copyright? Most people have only a fuzzy idea of what differentiates the three. If you want to have a clearer understanding of these terms and how they can apply to plants, read more here.
 
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Couldn't this be problematic because Sarracenia will duplicate themselves asexually, thus violating the patent for anyone who has them? Or does the owner have to do it, so just letting the plant sit there will get around it? Or will letting them duplicate be fine, but dividing them into separate pots cause the problem?

I'm mostly confused about seeds though. Because this is a plant patent and not a gene patent like what Monsanto has, Cobra Nest X something else should be completely valid to distribute, right?
 
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Couldn't this be problematic because Sarracenia will duplicate themselves asexually, thus violating the patent for anyone who has them? Or does the owner have to do it, so just letting the plant sit there will get around it? Or will letting them duplicate be fine, but dividing them into separate pots cause the problem?

I'm mostly confused about seeds though. Because this is a plant patent and not a gene patent like what Monsanto has, Cobra Nest X something else should be completely valid to distribute, right?

Sarracenia don't exactly reproduce themselves as you've described. I mean, it's not as if you walk out to check on your plants and where yesterday there was one copy and today there are three. Yes, Sarracenia grow and produce large crowns with multiple leads, but unless a human intervenes and intentionally divides those crowns, they tend to remain intact as a single plant. It is the intentional human action of dividing and replicating a cultivar that is being addressed by a patent, not the natural process of growth, expansion and occasional production of offsets that is normal behavior of the plant. The key to deciding what violates the patent and what does not is human intervention and intent.

Note: although it is not legal to do so, people will often divide a patented cultivar as backup for themselves. The patent police are not going to hunt you down and fine you for this. What a patent is intended to do is protect the breeders right to earn a royalty from every plant that gets propagated and sold. You're not impacting those rights just by making yourself a backup copy. If you drop a plant and it breaks in two, nobody is going to care. If you start making copies to give to all your friends, that is much more clearly a violation of the patent; even though no money exchanges hands, those gifts are regarded as lost revenue for the breeder, since royalty fees were not collected nor paid.

Secondly, plant patents do not place restrictions on the sexual reproduction of the plant. Anyone can acquire a patented cultivar and use it in hybridizing without concern. The progeny of such efforts are all unique and are in no way regarded as copies of the original, so you can do whatever you like with sexually-generated plants. As far as I know, only genetically engineered genes are patentable. Any genes found in nature (unmanipulated by gene engineering process) are not patentable. We'd be in serious trouble if they were!

Before anyone gets panicky about any of this, keep in mind that at this time there appears to be only two Sarracenia cultivars in commerce that have patents granted: S. Cobras Nest and S. Red Bug. Everything else in the genus is material for which there are no propagation restrictions.
 
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DragonsEye

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While checking out photos of Sarrs on FB, I ran across the name 'Cobra Nest'. Looking it up on Google, I discovered that it's been patented by one of the co-creators, James Booman.

I'm unsure of how common this is with cultivars, or what it actually means for the growers. The parentage is unknown even to the creators (from seed produced by two unkown hybrids), so it's not something that is likely to be duplicated by trial-and-error.

Does this mean that division and dissemination of the plant by anyone other than the patent-holder is illegal?

As Whim stated, dissemination is not illegal if you have worked something out with the patent holder. To the best of my limited knowledge, division is not an issue, providing you are keeping said divisions yourself.

The fact that not even the patent holder knows the lineage of the plant, strikes me as making the patent enforcement rather difficult.
If I make a sarr cross and one or more of the offspring look similar to CN, that does not mean it is genetically the same as CN. So if genetic testing proves they are different, does the patent still cover it?

For that matter, if my cross differs "significantly" (however that is decided .... And I would be interested to see what sort of rubric -- if any -- the patent office has derived for determining such) in some particular attribute, would that be enough to side step the patent restriction?


Couldn't this be problematic because Sarracenia will duplicate themselves asexually, thus violating the patent for anyone who has them? Or does the owner have to do it, so just letting the plant sit there will get around it? Or will letting them duplicate be fine, but dividing them into separate pots cause the problem?

I'm mostly confused about seeds though. Because this is a plant patent and not a gene patent like what Monsanto has, Cobra Nest X something else should be completely valid to distribute, right?

Because seed produced plants are genetically different from the parent plant, crosses made using Cobra Nest would be not be covered by the patent. Even plants resulting from a selfing of Cobra Nest, again to the best of my limited knowledge, do not fall under the patent's purview, I believe.

 
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As Whim stated, dissemination is not illegal if you have worked something out with the patent holder. To the best of my limited knowledge, division is not an issue, providing you are keeping said divisions yourself.

The fact that not even the patent holder knows the lineage of the plant, strikes me as making the patent enforcement rather difficult.
If I make a sarr cross and one or more of the offspring look similar to CN, that does not mean it is genetically the same as CN. So if genetic testing proves they are different, does the patent still cover it?

For that matter, if my cross differs "significantly" (however that is decided .... And I would be interested to see what sort of rubric -- if any -- the patent office has derived for determining such) in some particular attribute, would that be enough to side step the patent restriction?




Because seed produced plants are genetically different from the parent plant, crosses made using Cobra Nest would be not be covered by the patent. Even plants resulting from a selfing of Cobra Nest, again to the best of my limited knowledge, do not fall under the patent's purview, I believe.

Time to start truebreeding these guys I guess.
 
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Because seed produced plants are genetically different from the parent plant, crosses made using Cobra Nest would be not be covered by the patent. Even plants resulting from a selfing of Cobra Nest, again to the best of my limited knowledge, do not fall under the patent's purview, I believe.


Quite correct. You can self a patented plant till the proverbial cows come home, if that's your inclination. Nothing about that violates the patent. (Unless it's a specific gene the plant possesses that has been patented, as in the case of some "blue" Rose genes Suntory has engineered)

- - - Updated - - -

Time to start truebreeding these guys I guess.

Define "truebreeding" please?
 

Zath

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In response to Cruzzfish:

Or you could simply buy one from the supplier (which I won't name), rather than attempting to get a strain of non-species Sarracenia to breed identical specimens from seed (would be a lifetime achievement if it were possible, lol).
 
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Define "truebreeding" please?
In most cases, it refers to getting a plant to be homozygous so that any seed offspring of any two plants from that strain are identical to their parents barring random mutations, but here it's just until one comes out looking like the parent, because these plants are likely not homozygous.
In response to Cruzzfish:

Or you could simply buy one from the supplier (which I won't name), rather than attempting to get a strain of non-species Sarracenia to breed identical specimens from seed (would be a lifetime achievement if it were possible, lol).
Buying one from the supplier and breeding it isn't likely to get you an identical plant. I was suggesting to buy one from the supplier and keep breeding them from seed until you get just one that is identical/not distinguishable, then simply divide that one. The (simplified) math is that at least 50% of a selfed Cobra Nest should be identical to the parent, but because of how many genes there are it's probably a lot lower than that.
 
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In doing so, the likelihood of ending up with a bunch of seedlings crippled by the accumulation of deleterious recessives is extremely high. Loss of hybrid vigor is almost inevitable and has been demonstrated many a time in line breeding efforts of numerous genera.
 
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Buying one from the supplier and breeding it isn't likely to get you an identical plant. I was suggesting to buy one from the supplier and keep breeding them from seed until you get just one that is identical/not distinguishable, then simply divide that one. The (simplified) math is that at least 50% of a selfed Cobra Nest should be identical to the parent, but because of how many genes there are it's probably a lot lower than that.

I believe Zath was saying to just buy the cultivar from the supplier and end it right there, to avoid the hassle (and problems with inbreeding) that come with repeatedly selfing consecutive generations of seed-growns, even if that would allow you to circumvent the patent...in other words, it's not worth it.

Please correct me if I am mistaken.
 
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I believe Zath was saying to just buy the cultivar from the supplier and end it right there, to avoid the hassle (and problems with inbreeding) that come with repeatedly selfing consecutive generations of seed-growns, even if that would allow you to circumvent the patent...in other words, it's not worth it.

Please correct me if I am mistaken.

Yeah, but you can't distribute clones of that one. Any children that one has can be distributed.


And Whimgrinder, you'd only have crippling inbreeding issues in animals. Plants are much, much more capable of handling that, and the few that are notably effected wouldn't be cloned from. All you need is just one that looks like the parent. In other plant communities, selfing them is actually a requirement for eight generations in order to say you have new strain.
 

Zath

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Yeah, but you can't distribute clones of that one. Any children that one has can be distributed.

So, what you're saying is: "I like the way the cultivar looks enough to spend several years of my life and hundreds of dollars attempting to breed a Sarr that looks just like it, so that I can distribute it freely among friends, than spend $30 (or less) to obtain a specimen which I am obligated to keep to myself until 2022."?
 

Est

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What always gets me is that cultivars are based on phenotype, not genotype (looks, not genetics directly). So even if you did manage to breed something that looks the same, unless you have some way of proving that it's genetically distinct you have the same infringement issues. Unless this has changed in the past decade or so?
 
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What always gets me is that cultivars are based on phenotype, not genotype (looks, not genetics directly). So even if you did manage to breed something that looks the same, unless you have some way of proving that it's genetically distinct you have the same infringement issues. Unless this has changed in the past decade or so?

From my (admittedly limited) understanding, this is the case for some cultivars but not all...for example, cultivars such as D. capensis 'Albino' and U. reniformis 'Enfant Terrible' are based on phenotype and can be redistributed from seed, while Dionaea cultivars are baseld on genotype. I don't know the rules for Sarracenia cultivars (although I think it would be based on genotype), but there should be an annotation in the official cultivar description that was submitted to the ICPS explaining how the cultivar should be reproduced; for example, most of the Dionaea descriptions note that the cultivar should "only be reproduced through asexual means to retain its unique characteristics."
 
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So, what you're saying is: "I like the way the cultivar looks enough to spend several years of my life and hundreds of dollars attempting to breed a Sarr that looks just like it, so that I can distribute it freely among friends, than spend $30 (or less) to obtain a specimen which I am obligated to keep to myself until 2022."?

That's what I'm getting from the discussion, yes. I can't imagine a less worthwhile pursuit, frankly.

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Yeah, but you can't distribute clones of that one. Any children that one has can be distributed.


And Whimgrinder, you'd only have crippling inbreeding issues in animals. Plants are much, much more capable of handling that, and the few that are notably effected wouldn't be cloned from. All you need is just one that looks like the parent. In other plant communities, selfing them is actually a requirement for eight generations in order to say you have new strain.

Plants are not immune to inbreeding issues, I guarantee you. My twenty years experience in some genera have illustrated this beautifully. No, its not the same as animal breeding, but there are some of the same problems to be encountered.
 
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So, what you're saying is: "I like the way the cultivar looks enough to spend several years of my life and hundreds of dollars attempting to breed a Sarr that looks just like it, so that I can distribute it freely among friends, than spend $30 (or less) to obtain a specimen which I am obligated to keep to myself until 2022."?

Not spend hundreds. Just polinate it once with itself and pick the kid that looks close enough. Knowing what happens in my bog garden, that would occur either way.




@Whimgrinder
Trust me, I'm aware that plants can have inbreeding issues. It was important enough that Nepenthes aren't even capable of it, and that at least some Amorphophallus do their best not to. It's just that they can handle much, much more before they're noticeably effected by it because they aren't centralized enough to be killed by a birth defect, although their lack of immunity to disease is probably a bigger factor. They can handle a lot of weird stuff that would kill an animal too, such as polyploidy, which I'm experimenting on D. adelae with starting either tomorrow or Thursday.
 
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@Whimgrinder
Trust me, I'm aware that plants can have inbreeding issues. It was important enough that Nepenthes aren't even capable of it, and that at least some Amorphophallus do their best not to. It's just that they can handle much, much more before they're noticeably effected by it because they aren't centralized enough to be killed by a birth defect, although their lack of immunity to disease is probably a bigger factor. They can handle a lot of weird stuff that would kill an animal too, such as polyploidy, which I'm experimenting on D. adelae with starting either tomorrow or Thursday.

If plants had immune systems, our lives as hobbyists would be so much easier! Also, this is off-topic from the point of the thread, but I was unsure if inbreeding affects Nepenthes detrimentally. Why would it not cause problems for them, but could still cause problems for other plants (man, plant genetics seems so much more complex than animal genetics).

Edit: ignore the part I said about Nepenthes inbreeding, I misread "aren't even capable of it".
 
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