Re: Breeders' Rights
There you have the problem of theory coming up against reality. Supply
and demand. One reason breeders can't make much money for their introductions
is that most new hostas, from an economic standpoint, are not unique enough
to be worth much. I mentioned the patent because it is available,
not because I think many hostas are worth patenting.
According to the patent office site, the application fee is, for small
entities, $245 for the application and $300 when the patent is issued.
There are maintenance fees due after 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years of $425,
$975, and $1425 respectively, but these don't have to be paid if it's not
worth it. So based on these, it would appear that you can get 3.5 years
of protection for $545. No? Obviously it will cost a lot more if
you hire someone to do it for you.
In most cases, if one of the big growers is making a lot of money on
a plant, it's because they are growing it, marketing it, and distributing
it. The fact that if you deny them your plant they will just use
another indicates how important an individual introduction is. I'm
not bashing the new hostas, I'm talking strictly about the way the business
works. If you have a new hosta and you think it's worth a lot of
money, why won't anyone give you much for it? There is no conspiracy.
All businesses are out to make a profit, so if you offer them a plant and
tell them that the only way they can get it instead of their competitors
is to pay you for it, theoretically you will find out what your plant is
I'm not talking about the way the world should be according to Bill.
I'm talking about the way it is. There are simply too many people
breeding hostas today for the results of their efforts to be worth much
from a business standpoint. Too many sellers and not enough buyers.
You can have all the breeder's rights you want, but when you start trying
to charge people for growing your plant, in most cases they'll just grow
a different plant. I'm not sure I can express this clearly but I'll
give it a shot. Ran is afraid that a tc lab will take his plant and
produce a ton of them and make $100,000 and he won't get any of it.
That may happen, but for most hostas, it's not because the individual hosta
was worth $100,000, it's what the lab did with it that was worth $100,000.
If you deny them the plant, you won't make the money, they'll still make
it, they'll just use a different plant. That means that it's what
the lab is doing - growing, marketing and distributing the plants as a
commodity that is worth all that money. All their work and investment is
what's making the profit. The thing for Ran to do is plan his marketing
to maximize his profit and stop worrying about what someone else is going
to make. That means to control the distribution as long as is practical,
price it at the point that produces the most profit, and do a good job
of selling it.
I just don't see any practical way to change things, so it seems to
me the best thing to do is to do the best you can with the way things are.
person can have the whole patent done by himself for about $1500.00,
start to Finnish. But what
do you do then? Unless you have at least a three
year contract with a bunch
of large wholesale nurseries there was no point to
start with. H.Tattoo is
really the only hosta success story that has been
patented. 80 out of 100
plants being patented today have a shelf life of two
to three years and they
are discarded for the new ones year after year. Since
no one can propagate them,
who wants them. When you say the word royalty it
can make one think of wealth
and riches. Hardly so; the average royalty being
paid today to hybridizers
is 10 to 15 cents a plant. They have to sell one
hell of a lot of plants
just to make your money back; remember, even if you
have the best agent out
there you will still be the one who pays for the
patent, the patent writer,
the patent application and the actual patent, if
you are even granted one.
All for the grand sum of 10 to 15 cents a plant.
Also there aren't many plant
agents even interested in hostas. Oh yes, and
don't forget who is going
to enforce all of the laws of the plant patent.
Well, thats too much typing
Have a good day and a better