[Market-farming] Broccolini Trademarks

shepherd ogden shepogden at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 17 13:15:22 EST 2004


Re: Broccolini and such

I believe if you check the US Seed law (around section 207) you will find that it is illegal to trademark variety names, and "forms" such as broccolini, or rapini (which is basically broccoli raab) can't really be "patented" either. There are basicall three levels of intellectual property protection for seed propagated plants and this discussion is insufficiently precise to represent the level claimed by the person referred to. (This is not to say that the technicalities of this situation are not widely abused and ignored. Just check a Shepherd's Garden Seeds catalog to see rampant re-naming...which is also in violation of the seed laws.)

We found out about the tradmarking issue in terms of the Gilfeather turnip, which our company sold for years and for which the supplier claimed a trademark. Then they had back to back crop failures and a few small seed growers (including us and Arethusa Farms, both in the Intervale in Burlington, Vermont) put out crops to save this variety, and were told by a grower in southern Vermont (Paul Dutton) that we couldn't sell it as Gilfeather because he had "bought" the trademark rights. So I did some web research (mostly for Arethusa, as I had gone out of the seed business by that time) and found the relevant passages on the USDA site -- sorry, but I can't cite them right now because I am at work and on deadline -- which convinced me of this.

Shepherd Ogden

(FORMERLY of The Cook's Garden)
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