Tips to avoid violating a plant's legal and financial protections

Smarty Plants

Farm Hand
Messages
46
As much as I hate it, the reality is that plants can be trademarked, branded, and patented which prevents the rest of us from propagating that plant without permission. It also forces us to sell plants a certain way by ensuring they are properly marked and distributed as required. Do you have any tips for avoiding such a violation? One thing I always do is to check the appropriate patent and trademark databases.
 

Syd. L

Farm Hand
Messages
28
First of all, this never dawned on me. It makes sense now that you bring it up, but I never thought of this before. Therefore, the only tip I can come up with is not to sell what you grow.

I do know one thing though. Trademarks on pharmaceuticals typically expire after a certain number of years, and when it does someone can make and market the generic equivalent. Like Nyquil. They make cold medicine and, now, so does Equate. When Nyquil first came out, that's pretty much what you got. Robitussen has been out there for quite a while as well but I think their ingredients are different enough that they could make a trademark and not infringe upon Nyquil's. Equate is cheaper because it's the generic equivalent of Nyquil even though the ingredients are pretty much identical. And it came out, I'm assuming, because the Nyquil trademark elapsed.

I would think that horticulture operates roughly the same way, but, again, I really have no clue about that. Just replace those brand names with brand names in the horticulture industry and see if all that just made any sense to you.
 

Nora

Farm Hand
Messages
12
First of all, this never dawned on me. It makes sense now that you bring it up, but I never thought of this before. Therefore, the only tip I can come up with is not to sell what you grow.
Except many of us here are in the business of growing and selling all forms of plant life. It isn't just about selling anyway, those laws also make it illegal to save the seeds and plant tissue for yourself, even if the original plant is dying (leading you to want to propagate it). Everything from seeds to whole plants can be fully owned by one entity. Remember the uproar over Monsanto's seeds? It was a real blow to most of us growers.

I get around the legal issues by looking for certain terms on the plant's seed packet or pot before buying it. I look for words like "open-pollinated," "open-use," "native," "landrace," "heritage," and "heirloom" as those are much less likely to be legally locked down. I also make every effort to spend my money with companies who openly oppose plant utility patents and the like. There are a variety of good companies out there who offer "safe" inventory which makes it easier to stay within the bounds of the law.
 

Digger

Farm Hand
Messages
42
There are several databases out there that categorize plants that are in the public domain. The plants can typically be used however you wish. There's a lot of interest in keeping these plants around, so propagating the helps.
 
 
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