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Re: Breeders' Rights

  • Subject: Re: Breeders' Rights
  • From: "Bill Meyer" <njhosta@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 10:52:17 -0400

Hi Everybody,
          First, I should say that I've been hybridizing for about eight
years now, and I don't have a nursery. I'm strictly an amateur and make my
living in the printing industry. The existance of the Breeders' Rights laws
in so many other countries and the Plant Patent laws in this country points
out that many, probably a majority, of people think they are a good idea.
I'm not saying we need a radical change here, just an adjustment in how the
existing Plant Patent laws are written to allow us little guys some
protection, like our counterparts in Europe, Canada, and Australia have.
Currently you are somewhat protected if you have a "big" plant that will be
sold in tens of thousands by the "big" growers. If you, like Chick or Ran,
have a plant that isn't worth the expense of a Plant Patent (I've heard
$6000 or so in legal costs), then you're on your own.
          The system as it has been existing so far is falling apart. Almost
anyone can afford to either TC a plant, BAP it, or pay to have it done
(about $300 for 100 TC liners). Once you sell it the first time, one of
those buyers can have plenty for sale within a year to undercut you and
destroy your ability to make money on your own plant. This is destroying the
high end of the market, where you could sell a few of your OS plants for
$100 or more. I've heard more and more of these collectors say that they are
starting to feel foolish paying that kind of money for something that they
can buy for $20 next year. Some of them even say that they do it now only to
support the hybridizers, that if it wasn't for that reason they would wait
for them to get cheaper. In time, with things going the way they are, Chick
won't be able to do what he did with 'Satisfaction', because the only people
left willing to pay $200 for it will be those who want to market it
themselves.
         I don't see what's wrong with a change to a system where a small
percentage goes to the hybridizer and nurseries must make legally binding
arrangements with the hybridizer to sell the plant. The end result would be
slightly higher prices for hostas (say 5%), with that 5% going to the
originator. Of course sellers of a product would prefer to keep all the
profits themselves. Who wouldn't. What I'm suggesting is parity between
producers of plants and those who propagate and sell them. Before there were
unions, employers did whatever they felt like. They got so out of hand with
their behavior that unions formed to balance the situation out. Now both
sides must negotiate fair agreements. That's what the Breeders' Rights laws
bring to the situation-------fair agreements worked out between both
parties. Now, mostly there are no agreements, or there are some which could
be a lot better for the hybridizers. How many hybridizers feel that that
they got a fair percentage of the profits made selling their plants?
Especially those who do not have their own nurseries?

.........Bill Meyer
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