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Re: Breeders' Rights

Bill Meyer wrote:
Well Chick,               One question that comes to mind is--------If the Plant Patent system is as good and as cheap as you make it out to be, why hasn't anybody gotten one other than the big multi-million dollar nurseries like Walters and Shady Oaks? Why haven't you gotten one? It seems to me that if it was as good as you say that a patent for 'Satisfaction' would have returned much more than the $245 that you spent for it.
Actually, I was going to patent Satisfaction but found that one requirement is that the application has to be filed within one year of the first time the plant was offered for sale.  I decided too late and was ineligible.

Tony patented Tatoo, and advised me to patent Satisfaction before we knew it wasn't elegible.  I assume he knows what it costs and knows that I am not a multimillion dollar mursery.

I didn't say that it only cost $245. If you read what I wrote, you would note that I mentioned that there were other fees, and said that the application fee was $245 to indicate that if a person did it without a patent attorney, which I have been told is not easy but is possible, that it does not cost $6,000, that is unless the other fees are more than 20 times the application fee.

Another consideration I had was the fact that Satisfaction is a sport and not a seedling.  I had to consider the fact that if I did go ahead with a patent, how likely would it be that someone else would come up with the same sport.  For Tatoo, it wasn't likely because the plant is so unique.  Events proved that not to be the case for Satisfaction.  If you are considering a plant patent, whether the cost is $245 or $6000, you have to decide whether it's worth it.  And frankly, in most cases I don't think it is.  I suggested only that the option is open.

                If you're going to start living in the real world, maybe you can explain the lack of people applying for Plant Patents if they're the answer you make them out to be. The Plant Patent exists to offer protection to the plant breeder. How come, if you agree that most hybridizers are unhappy with the money they've received for their plants, none, repeat none of them decided to get Plant Patents?
I think there are several possibilities.  One, it may be harder and more expensive than I think, which I've admitted may be the case.  Or it may be possible, but still more trouble than most people want to deal with.  I didn't say it as easy or free.  Or people may just assume it's terribly difficult because they haven't made the effort to see what's involved.  Have you made that effort?  Do you know what's involved?  Does Ran? Anybody?  And if not, who's fault is that?  I have read patent applications and I have read the instructions for applying for a patent and I don't see anything obvious that I can't do if I make the effort.

I think most hybridizers are unhappy with what they receive because in most cases they think the plant is worth more than it is.  Unfortunately for the hybridizers, including myself, there are too many people doing it and most of the new plants are not really unique.  As in most cases, the seller usually wants more than the buyer wants to give, and in the case of new hostas, there is no shortage of sellers.  Look at the registrations and look at how many actually get sold on a large scale.  If you come to me with a plant and ask me for what you think its worth, I'm likely to decide it's not worth that much to me.

It's a system that doesn't work, that's why. Eventually systems that don't work get replaced with ones that do. It has happened in other countries, and sooner or later it will probably happen here.
One of the problems with this conversation is that I'm not sure we are really talking about the same thing.  I'm talking about what people can do in the real world, and you are talking about what people would be able to do if someone puts you in charge.  The original question was what should Ran do with Oh My Heart.  You solution seems to be hold on to it until you take over and you'll fix everything.  My advice was to deal with the world as it is, do what you can, and don't count on Bill Meyer to fix things.  No offense Bill, but I don't think they're going to put you in charge.

Your horror senario was that someone puts out a new plant and charges big bucks for it, deservedly so, and some dastardly soul comes along and rushes the plant into tc and takes the market away, leaving the poor breeder to sell his new introduction for next to nothing.  Give me an example of this happening.

I know I'm risking my neck taking one of Mary's plants as an example because she disagrees with me, but when I looked in the finder to see if I could see what really is happening, her plants are the easiest to check because they are all listed together, plus, she's a well known breeder, she has introduced a lot of popular plants, and a goodly number have been tc'd.  The one thing I don't know is when the plants were actually introduced, how long Mary had them to herself before other people started putting them out in quantity.

Let's take Lakeside Kaleidoscope for example.  It's a good plant, it has been tissue cultured, there are 21 sources listed in the finder, I don't know how long she's been selling it but it was registered in 1994.  The average price for the plant is $22.04 and Mary sells it for $25.  Mary probably disagrees with me, but that seems to me to be perfectly reasonable.  As I look through her list of plants, I just don't see that they are being given away at unreasonably low prices.

I'm not sure what Mary thinks, other than that she's not happy about thievery.  If she's explained her opinion about how things should work, I missed it.  I know that I wish everyone else would stop selling my introductions or give me money when they sell them, but I don't want to give anyone else money if I sell their plant.  That seems like a good idea to me, but I haven't convinced anyone else to go along with it yet, so I have to deal with things the way they are and always have been.  I expect everyone else to take advantage of my introductions the same way I take advantage of other breeder's introductions every time I buy a flat of tc.

               I'm not proposing new laws or trying to get them changed. I'm just talking about where things stand today and where they might go in the future. Get a grip. I'm not writing Congress suggesting that they tax you guys more. You know as well as I that if such laws were passed here, you would just pass on the whole price of the royalty to your customers, and that you wouldn't lose any profit along the way. From what I understand, those Breeders' Rights laws make it easy to register your plant, so easy that most people would have no trouble doing it. The situation would change from one in which nobody has a Plant Patent to one in which most people had BR agreements. The hybridizer would have the sort of protection that writers, photographers, artists, musicians, and inventors have. Not the imaginary protection of the current system. The only people who prefer a dog-eat-dog way of doing business are the ones who been able to eat a few dogs along the way.
Well, while you're deciding how you wish the world was, I must deal with reality.  The difference is that while I'm trying to cope with things the way they are, you're still claiming that the sky is falling.


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