patented maples????

Discussion in 'Maples' started by banjoboy, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. banjoboy

    banjoboy Active Member

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    How does everyone feel about this? I watched "the future of food" recently where they talked about monsanto's patenting of wheat and corn seeds. these cross pollinated with other farmers crops and monsanto sued the farmers for 'stealing' their patented seed.

    Could the same thing happen with maples? (not that am really worried about this, but ethically do you you think this is okay) Who is patenting maples? How do they determine if it is the same patented maple? have they mapped out the genes?

    Personally, I don't think life forms should be patented.....inventions are fine. but not life forms.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Many patented maples and other ornamental plants. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) decides if an 'invention' qualifies for such designation. In fact, there is enough such activity that their web site search function can be searched by plant patent numbers specifically, using "pp" before the number. It is a useful resource for getting detailed descriptions of particular plants, that may not be available elsewhere (many introductions get only brief treatment in catalogs, new ones may not even be mentioned in books at all).
     
  3. Hayzee

    Hayzee Member

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    I can think of one maple that is already protected against propagation for commercial purposes

    Acer palmatum 'Taylor' - European breeders patent no EU 15609 propagation prohibited

    This is an EU patent and I am not familiar with I.P. law as to whether it extends to the US etc

    Cropped up in this thread http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=22275

    regards

    HZ
     
  4. Scion Swapper

    Scion Swapper Active Member

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    Well, in the US, Acer palmatum 'Beni Shien' has apparently been patented for several years. Stepping Stones/Dunken and Davies have new one called Acer palmatum 'Shiraz' that is patented. And last I looked, at least one of the "newer" variegated cultivars of Acer palmatum (either 'Fujinami Nishiki' or 'Hana Matoi') is under patent application in the US, even though its openly available in its country of origin.

    I don't think patented Japanese Maples will ever be main-streamed. There are already 500+ cultivars, the Vast majority of which, say 95%, are only collector items. These nurseries that are dropping 5k$ to patent trees that are usually marginally different than cultivars that have been around for many, sometimes hundreds of years, are looking to cash in in my opinion.

    Final point, the Monsanto issue is a little different, because their claims are likely based on the fact that a genetically engineered gene that they introduced is finding its way into native stocks. In the case of cultivated trees, patents only apply to the cultivar. I'm not aware of any ruling that would cover an ornamental trees seedlings/pollen/sexually produced ofspring.

    Brian
     
  5. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Brian,
    there are some new introductions that will certainly be mainstream, I am thinking for instance of Summer Gold (Palmatum) or Jordan (Shirasawanum), Shiraz is also seen often in mainstream Garden Centers in Europe. They are certainly worth patenting.

    Gomero
     
  6. Scion Swapper

    Scion Swapper Active Member

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    Hi Gomero,

    For sure, the ones you mentioned are absolutely beautiful. But is 'Summer Gold' that much better than say shiraswanum 'Aureum', which is comparable in color, hardier and not patented?? My point is this, at least in the US, the vast majority of cultivars sold are comprised of about 5 non-patented cultivars (say 95% of the volume). Another 100 or so cultivars represent the remaining 5% or so by volume, and maybe one or two of those are patented.

    There are nurseries in the US that are tired of contending with patent royalties, particularly when they've gone through the process for a number of years only to find that the trees are marginally better than the species (but have a better name and are marketed like crazy in early years). With 5 high volume cultivars available, and another 100-500 cultivars to chose from, why would a wholesale grower deal with the logistics, and lose 5-10% of profit, to have a marginally different tree.

    For sure, the trees you mentioned show excellent promise and beauty. But I have a collection of trees that are wonderful, that nobody in the US seems interested in as a wholesale item.

    I wished the whole patented tree thing would go away in the US. That is until I find the weeping/variegated/pink flowering dwarf Franklinia alatamaha that I've been searching for (ha ha) -- oh yeah, it has to be hybridized with Stewartia for pealing bark too. :-)).


    Regards,
    Brian
     

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