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Re: CULT: Patently Confused

From: "David G. Holm" <sherlock@amigo.net>

I would like to add my 2 cents worth.  There is a difference between 
patenting and plant variety protection.  My experience relates to primarily to 

In about 1993 the US Congress amended the Plant Variety Protection Act.  
This amendment allowed tuber crops that are vegetatively propogated to be 
protected.  Prior to this potatoes were ineligible.  However some potato 
cultivars were patented.  The amended act was brought about by lobbying 
efforts of the potato industry in the US and because other countries wanted 
to market their potato cultivars in the US.

Our Colorado potato breeding program has applied for protection on two 
potato selections .  Royalties on potato varieties may or may not be 
collected.  If they are collected they will be used primarily to support further 
potato breeding and related research efforts.

It is my understanding that potatoes cannot be patented now.  However 
genes and techniques for inserting genes into potatoes can be patented.

It is also my understanding that the Plant Variety Protection Act excludes 
protection for any plants produced from rhizomes.

Plant Variety Protection allows the purchaser of a protected plant to 
produce plants for their own use, but they cannot sell or give away plant 
material to anyone else without permission of the owner of the variety.

More information about PVP may be found at 
http://www.ams.usda.gov/science/pvp.htm.  This site is a good overview of 
PVP and the costs associated for applying for protection. 


Dave Holm
Professor of Horticulture (Potato Breeding)
Colorado State University

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