[NAFEX] MN 447

list at ginda.us list at ginda.us
Sun Mar 9 08:04:13 EST 2003

Plant patents eventually expire.  The patent system is supposed to 
create a balance between the interests of inventors and the interests 
of the public - giving enough of a monopoly that inventors are 
motivated to invent, but eventually releasing inventions into the 
public domain.  I suppose non-propagation agreements don't expire - 
after all, the point is to prevent propagation prior to filing for the 
patent.  But it seems to me that at some point, if the originator of 
the material decides not to patent it, non-propagation agreements ought 
to expire.

Is there a mechanism to release a cultivar other than by patenting it?  
If this cultivar doesn't have much commercial potential, but is 
interesting enough that a few people want it, could U of Minn announce 
that non-propagation agreements are now void and allow individuals to 
clone it?  Does that sort of thing ever happen?  (I'm not suggesting 
that's what U Minn ought to do in this case - perhaps they want to 
patent it.  Just wondering what happens to good-but-limited cultivars.  
I'm sure it costs money to patent a plant.)

Ginda Fisher

On Sunday, March 9, 2003, at 07:28  AM, John Bunker wrote:

> Steve et al,
> Perhaps at some point we can get David Bedford of U Minn to join in 
> this
> discussion.  I did mention to him that it was causing a stir these 
> days.
> He's aware of its following and I wouldn't be surprised if they agree 
> to
> release it.  Enthusiasm is infectious.  I wonder if anyone has 
> invented a
> name for it.
> Regards,
> John Bunker
> Fedco
> Palermo ME
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