Plant Patents

In 1930 congress enacted the Plant Protection Act, which grants patent protection to a person who invents or discovers a distinct and new variety of plant. In order to qualify for patent protection for a plant, it must be asexually reproduced (cloned). The plant must also be also be found in a cultivated state. In other words a wild plant is not patentable until it is asexually cloned. The purpose of the Plant Patent Act is to provide the agricultural community with the same access to the patent system as other industry. To be distinct, a plant must show characteristics that distinguish it from other similar plants. An inventor that identifies a new plant variety may obtain a patent for it even if it was found in a wild state so long as the inventor has asexually reproduced the plant. New plants must also meet the non-obviousness requirement.

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