Should we allow the patenting of Plants?

Yes of course, we should be able to protect and profit from our inventions
40%
2
Yes but only if the plant was engineered through selective breeding (no gene splicing)
20%
1
No, because it's immoral and we shouldn't alter the course of life under any circumstances
20%
1
No, because it's a plant, even though nature didn't provide it naturally, it really doesn't belong to "you"
20%
1
 
Total votes: 5
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Voices30
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Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

Here is a question that I thought of because of our discussion on the GMO. I first found out about the patenting of plants from a friend who runs a nursery. There are a lot of plants that are patented now. The most familiar story is Monstanto with the "round-up ready" crops, and how they have cornered the market on certain crops. I think the most upsetting aspect of that story is the fact that they vehemently enforce the patent causing harm to people that refuse to plant their seeds. It's kinda hard to grow "heirloom soybeans" when you are surrounded by other farms growing the patented crop and the wind blows and cross pollinates. That's a real stretch for me and I find it heartbreaking to see small farmers get sued because they just want to be able to harvest their own seeds for next year. It's just downright greedy and I wish that companies that are directly involved in providing our food had just a little more conscious than that. But try not to let that story influence your vote here, because there are tons of other plants that are patented as well, but the difference is that most of the time, your not going to get a knock at your door about it.
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tomc
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

A look at the wasteland the European union is creating both for its farmers and gardeners should serve that plant patenting is a great tool to creating shortages and panics.

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PaulF
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

Interesting question. I made a quick decision and need to hear more ......maybe. Although I disagree with the Monsantoesque legalese to patent anything they feel like patenting like "green beans" or "spinach" or any other plant they think they can get away with. However like pharmaceutical companies there should be a patent period of time they have exclusive rights to an invention... say like the second choice listed above. If time and money went into developing a new plant, flower or fruit, the inventor (developer) should benefit. But like other patents there should be a time limit. Unlike other patents that get seventeen years exclusivity I say make it five years.
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imafan26
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

Technically plants have been patented for years. Plants patented after June 8, 1995 with the U.S. patent office are granted a patent for a period of 20 years. It is however, the person who holds the patent who must enforce it, if it is not enforced or if a trademark name like Xerox becomes common usage, then it becomes a generic trademark usually against the entity who owns the trademark.

Monsanto sued farmers over patent infringements of their round up ready seed. Farmers were saving their roundup ready seed rather than buying the expensive seed from Monsanto and also because nearby farms had plants that crossed pollinated with the transgenic seeds and the farmers saved those instead of destroying them because they became the dominant cultivars especially for farms that used a lot of herbicides. I think everybody agrees Monsanto probably could have made better choices in protecting their patent, but they did have a right and obligation to defend their patent. The roundup ready first generation soybean seed patent expires in 2015 but varietal seeds may still be patented longer.
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lily51
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

The plant patent act dates back to 1930, so it is not a new thing.
People think of Monsanto and crops, but owning plants has been around for a long time, although people react to it as if it was just enacted.
Patents and copywriters are pervasive in the greenhouse industry.
All those "name" brands cannot be propagated without a license. It is very controlled. This goes for flowers and vegetables.
The Eckes family had a monopoly on the poinsettias industry until just recently.
From the plant breeders perspective it seems only right to have your work protected for a limited time in order to make a profit.
From the consumers side, we see it as control.

imafan26
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

Correct. Most of the roses are patented. To develop a new rose from literally thousands of seedlings takes time, and money and up to 10 years of trial and error. Orchids cultivars are not really patented as far as I know but if someone makes a cross, it usually makes up to 50,000 seedlings. Orchid seedlings depending on the type and cultivar can take anywhere from 2 years of a phalaenopsis to 10 years for Mem. Robert Strait catleya. Multigenerics have at least 4 different genera so that requires multiple crosses. Of the seedlings that are usually grown in culture by the way, orchids require special conditions to reproduce in the wild. It requires sterilizing the pod, sterile agar, seeding the flask, reflasking, and transplanting into community pots and a while longer to grow the seedlings out before there is finally a flower. Some of the seedlings will be lost if air gets in the flask, or the seedlings dies. 90% of what remains will be junk and it takes up a lot of space. Of the 10% that are left you may have something unique and special enough to bring it to be judged. If it gets awarded, it gets named by the owner and the owner has to be the first one to apply for registration in England. If the plant has already been crossed, it cannot be renamed. Oh, by the way, you cannot cross any plant to get an award, you have to be able to follow the plants genealogy back to the original species on both sides. The named plant can be cloned to get a copy of the original plant and the process begins again. Most people will sell the sibling seedlings, they will vary just as brothers and sisters look similar but not exactly alike. Some of the colors will be different as they follow one parent instead of another or a grandparent trait suddenly shows up. They can still be nice, but not necessarily of award quality. Extraordinarily striking crosses that are unusual like Hybridizers' Dream sold for $50 for a seedling when it first came out. If you look at different plants with the same name, they look different some a darker pink, and some without the white edges.
https://www.sciencephoto.com/media/136212/view

So, actually it does make some sense the the hybridizer should get to recoup the cost of all the time and money spent in developing the cross. With orchids it is kind of easy to control the propagation. Propagation through tissue culture is expensive but the only way to multiply the plant to get a large quantity of the same quality plant. People dividing a plant won't get many plants. However, with other plants that don't take years to mature and are easily propagated, it is much harder to control illegal propagation and the owner of the patent often loses out on the patent income he is entitled to.
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tomf
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

Then there is a question of a farmer having planted a seed crop with out a paten and it being cross pollinated with one of Monosanto's. Now the farmer can't save some seed to replant, and he will loose his seed, this is now a loss for the farmer. In Oregon we export wheat to Asia and they do not want GMO wheat. There was a case where some of the Oregon wheat got contaminated by GMO wheat and Asia would not buy it.
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lily51
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

tomf wrote:Then there is a question of a farmer having planted a seed crop with out a paten and it being cross pollinated with one of Monosanto's. Now the farmer can't save some seed to replant, and he will loose his seed, this is now a loss for the farmer. In Oregon we export wheat to Asia and they do not want GMO wheat. There was a case where some of the Oregon wheat got contaminated by GMO wheat and Asia would not buy it.
There is not much gmo wheat out there. If it crossed with non-gmo that is a problem and a legal entanglement for sure.
The incident to which you are referring was political on the part of Asia, not so much anti-gmo as anti USA.

imafan26
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

There are minimum distances to minimize unwanted crosses, but sometimes things still happen. I know the organic farms here have to have minimum distances from non-organic farms and a buffer zone between them. Organic papaya farms have to plant known non-GMO seeds and have to rogue out any wild papaya plants in the fields because the birds often bring the seeds as they do not respect buffer zones.

Monsanto does rent out some of their land to small farmers and part of their contract with them is that they cannot grow any of the plants that Monsanto is growing when Monsanto fields are planted. Monsanto here grows winter corn. During the summer they leave the fields fallow or grow cover crops to minimize the cross pollination.

But there are a lot of people out there who do cheat and propagate patented plants illegally and purposely to take advantage of a product they want but do not want to pay the price for and that is stealing someone else' original idea or work and denying them the $ to recoup for years spend in developing the product that cost them time and money with no guarantee of success. The patent allows for the patent owners a period of tiime for them to recoup the cost of R&D. Not everything works out and it is always a gamble as to whether a process or plant will be commercially successful.
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shadylane
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

tomf wrote:Then there is a question of a farmer having planted a seed crop with out a paten and it being cross pollinated with one of Monosanto's. Now the farmer can't save some seed to replant, and he will loose his seed, this is now a loss for the farmer. In Oregon we export wheat to Asia and they do not want GMO wheat. There was a case where some of the Oregon wheat got contaminated by GMO wheat and Asia would not buy it.

There was another fact on the cross pollination coming from Canada. This farmer and his family owned their special heirloom canola seeds handed down from generations. He didn't even know it until the spray wouldn't kill a group of something coming up on the ditch way area from a canola crop from another farmer across the road. He had brought it to attention and he ended up with the loss of everything and again could not re-sow the seeds. I really feel for those farmers who work very hard and end up with nothing, not even pay back for his loss.

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tomf
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

shadylane wrote:
tomf wrote:Then there is a question of a farmer having planted a seed crop with out a paten and it being cross pollinated with one of Monosanto's. Now the farmer can't save some seed to replant, and he will loose his seed, this is now a loss for the farmer. In Oregon we export wheat to Asia and they do not want GMO wheat. There was a case where some of the Oregon wheat got contaminated by GMO wheat and Asia would not buy it.

There was another fact on the cross pollination coming from Canada. This farmer and his family owned their special heirloom canola seeds handed down from generations. He didn't even know it until the spray wouldn't kill a group of something coming up on the ditch way area from a canola crop from another farmer across the road. He had brought it to attention and he ended up with the loss of everything and again could not re-sow the seeds. I really feel for those farmers who work very hard and end up with nothing, not even pay back for his loss.
That farmer should be able to sue the company or individuals who caused his loss.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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shadylane
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Re: Should it be perfectly legal to Patent Plants?

They should have had decency in the beginning to say something in the effect that they were sowing MGO products. If I can remember correctly it was Monsanto employees that came on his land a reaped the harvest. Can you imagine.

I agree tomf, Monsanto's britches are so tight it's busting out of the seams.



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