Who are the top plant patent holders?

So far we’ve queried our plant database to find out who the patent examiners are and which plants are most prolific in the patent system. Today we’re going to look at the top inventors and patent holders on granted patents.

First, let’s see who the top 20 plant patent holders are worldwide:

mysql> SELECT COUNT(application_applicant.entity_id) AS total, entity_name, entity_city, entity_country FROM application_applicant LEFT JOIN entity ON entity.entity_id = application_applicant.entity_id LEFT JOIN patent ON patent.application_id = application_applicant.application_id WHERE issue_date IS NOT NULL GROUP BY entity_name ORDER BY total DESC LIMIT 20;
+-------+-----------------------+------------------------+----------------+
| total | entity_name           | entity_city            | entity_country |
+-------+-----------------------+------------------------+----------------+
|   207 | Dümmen, Tobias        | Rheinberg              | DE             |
|   192 | Klemm, Nils           | Stuttgart              | DE             |
|   140 | Bergman, Wendy R.     | Lehigh Acres           | US             |
|   136 | Smith, Mark A.        | Fort Myers             | US             |
|   115 | Korlipara, Harini     | Canby                  | US             |
|   113 | Danziger, Gabriel     | Moshav Nir-Zvi         | IL             |
|   110 | Bradford, Lowell Glen | Le Grand               | US             |
|   110 | Egger, Janet N.       | Wilsonville            | US             |
|   106 | Olesen, Mogens N.     | Fredensborg            | DK             |
|   102 | Zaiger, Gary Neil     | Modesto                | US             |
|   102 | Gardner, Leith Marie  | Modesto                | US             |
|   102 | Zaiger, Grant Gene    | Modesto                | US             |
|    98 | Kordes, Tim-Hermann   | Offenseth-Sparrieshoop | DE             |
|    93 | Pieters, Dirk         | Oostnieuwkerke         | BE             |
|    88 | Sakazaki, Ushio       | Shiga                  | JP             |
|    79 | Trees, Scott C.       | Shell Beach            | US             |
|    77 | Kanaya, Takeshi       | Shiga                  | JP             |
|    76 | Meilland, Alain A.    | Antibes                | FR             |
|    70 | Maillard, Laurence    | Elne                   | FR             |
|    70 | Maillard, Arsene      | Elne                   | FR             |
+-------+-----------------------+------------------------+----------------+
20 rows in set (0.14 sec)

Germany is heavily represented by Tobias Dümmen (who seems to focus on Petunia, Pelargonium, Calibrachoa, Verbena, poinsettia, and a handful of other annuals) and Nils Klemm (who focuses on pretty much the same thing). Mr. Dümmen hasn’t had a patent granted on anything filed since he merged with Agribio in 2013. Mr. Klemm is affiliated with Selecta
(which is partnered with Ball), but also doesn’t have anything granted on a patent filed since September, 2012.

Suprisingly, many of the top patent holders in the US patent system above are not from the US.

mysql> SELECT COUNT(entity_country) AS total, countryname, population FROM entity LEFT JOIN application_applicant ON entity.entity_id = application_applicant.entity_id LEFT JOIN geonames.country ON entity.entity_country = geonames.country.countrycode LEFT JOIN patent ON patent.application_id = application_applicant.application_id WHERE issue_date IS NOT NULL GROUP BY entity_country ORDER BY total DESC limit 10;
+-------+----------------+------------+
| total | countryname    | population |
+-------+----------------+------------+
|  4676 | United States  |  303824000 |
|  1926 | Netherlands    |   16645000 |
|  1366 | Germany        |   82369000 |
|   931 | Japan          |  127288000 |
|   508 | United Kingdom |   60943000 |
|   476 | Denmark        |    5484000 |
|   409 | Australia      |   20600000 |
|   355 | France         |   64094000 |
|   305 | Israel         |    6500000 |
|   217 | New Zealand    |    4154000 |
+-------+----------------+------------+
10 rows in set (0.22 sec)

As you can see, the majority of granted plant patents are assigned to US residents. Netherlands, Germany, and Japan are high on the list too, and Netherlands has greatest number of patents per capita (at about 29 patents for every 250,000 people).

So who are the top US granted patent applicants?

mysql> SELECT COUNT(application_applicant.entity_id) AS total, entity_name, entity_city, entity_country FROM application_applicant LEFT JOIN entity ON entity.entity_id = application_applicant.entity_id LEFT JOIN patent ON patent.application_id = application_applicant.application_id WHERE issue_date IS NOT NULL AND entity_country = "US" GROUP BY entity_name ORDER BY total DESC LIMIT 20;
+-------+-------------------------+---------------+----------------+
| total | entity_name             | entity_city   | entity_country |
+-------+-------------------------+---------------+----------------+
|   140 | Bergman, Wendy R.       | Lehigh Acres  | US             |
|   136 | Smith, Mark A.          | Fort Myers    | US             |
|   115 | Korlipara, Harini       | Canby         | US             |
|   110 | Bradford, Lowell Glen   | Le Grand      | US             |
|   110 | Egger, Janet N.         | Wilsonville   | US             |
|   102 | Zaiger, Gary Neil       | Modesto       | US             |
|   102 | Gardner, Leith Marie    | Modesto       | US             |
|   102 | Zaiger, Grant Gene      | Modesto       | US             |
|    79 | Trees, Scott C.         | Shell Beach   | US             |
|    57 | Hanes, Mitchell         | Morgan Hill   | US             |
|    50 | Kobayashi, Ruth         | Carlsbad      | US             |
|    44 | Dupont, Sr., Robert J.  | Plaquemine    | US             |
|    40 | Zary, Keith W.          | Thousand Oaks | US             |
|    39 | Carruth, Thomas F.      | Altadena      | US             |
|    38 | Wood, Timothy D.        | Spring Lake   | US             |
|    34 | Vandenberg, Cornelis P. | Fort Myers    | US             |
|    32 | Hanes, Mitchell E.      | Morgan Hill   | US             |
|    30 | Lim, Peter P.           | Yamhill       | US             |
|    30 | Ren, Jianping           | Geneva        | US             |
|    29 | Lyrene, Paul M.         | Micanopy      | US             |
+-------+-------------------------+---------------+----------------+
20 rows in set (0.07 sec)

So there’s our list. Some quick Google searches give us background and affiliations for the top listings:

Bergman, Wendy R.

    Yoder Brothers, Inc. from 1996-2008 (now Aris), Syngenta from 2000-2013, Aris from 2009-2012. Specializes in Hibiscus and Chrysanthemums.

Korlipara, Harini

    Terra Nova lab manager and plant breeder, cytogenetics. Harini earned a M. Phil. and Ph.D in Cytogenetics and Plant Breeding from Nagarjuna University in India. Published dozens of articles in professional journals. Her major crops here include Echinacea and Coreopsis.

Bradford, Lowell Glen

    Fruit hybridizer, specializing in cherries, nectarines, plums, peaches…

Egger, Janet N.

    Terra Nova patent writer and manager, B.S. in Botany and a M.S. in Horticulture from the University of California, Davis, with Terra Nova since 2000, Heuchera and Heucherella specialist.

Zaiger, Gary Neil

    Inventor of pluot, works with nectarines, peaches, plums, almonds. Father of Grant Zaiger and Leith Marie Gardner.

Gardner, Leith Marie

    Daughter of Gary Neil Zaiger (above), with similar patents.

Zaiger, Grant Gene

    Son of Gary Neil Zaiger (above), with similar patents.

Trees, Scott

    Senior ornamental plant breeder for Ball Horticultural Company and PanAmerican Seed Company from 2005-present, V.P of Research for Pan American Seed from 1978-1988. Has a PhD in plant genetics from UC Davis. Specializes in Lantana, Pelargonium, Verbena, and Angelonia (and a few others).

Based on the totals above, Terra Nova Nurseries probably has the largest ornamental plant patent portfolio for US patent holders, and the Zaiger family has the largest number of plant patents on food crops.


What do you want to know about plant patents? Let us know in the comments and we’ll look it up. Or maybe we can make a tool that you can use regularly.

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