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AIS: Patenting Irises and the Wholesale Trade

From: HIPSource@aol.com

In a message dated 1/10/99 11:53:52 PM Eastern Standard Time,
BKAntique@aol.com writes:

<<  Here's a thought/question.  If memory serves me correctly, there is a
 system for roses and some other types of plants produced commercially.  Is
 there merit to introducing a "patent system" for irises?  From the average
 consumer's standpoint, would it not ensure that the cultivar being bought is
 accurately named, AND registered with the AIS?  Might it demonstrate an
 "authenticity" to the average catalog browser who might not know the
 difference between irises "warehouses" and garden grown irises? >>

As I recall from older discussions of this topic several irises have been
patented in the past but the process was discontinued, since there was no
means of monitoring it all, for one reason. Also, the plants increase and must
be divided, unlike modern roses which are propagated artifically, and there
are some patenting criteria, including "distinctiveness" that some folks
thought might be hard to implement.

I doubt there is much interest in the question and if the example of the rose
is to be cited, I could not argue that it should be. It does not ensure that
the plant is accurately named since human error can occur with labeling, and
sleazy folk are always up to no good somewhere.

As for the question of reassuring novices about authenticity, I doubt it. 

And as for the difference between "warehouse" irises and others, the problem
is that those irises are being sold wholesale to those icky distributors and
then end up in those places. The difference is not necessarily one of what
varieties one is dealing with, for most of those are duly registered  irises
with real names, albeit not necessarily the ones they are being sold under.
The question lies in the overall approach to unloading the season's excess and
the concern for the quality of those plants by the time they meet the
consumer. The only good thing about it all, and here I am speculating, is that
these are probably pretty tough older irises which increase well and can take
some abuse, or they would not have made it that far. 

But the sources of those rhizomes are probably doing themselves a longtime
economic  disservice. The less sophisticated gardener does not necessarily
have lower expectations of the unwholesome plant they buy, nor is their
disappointment necessarily tempered by the awareness that they got a crummy
plant for their money. And this is not the way to raise a new crop of
consumers of the high end stuff. 

Anner Whitehead

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