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Companies seek to protect branded plant patents


August 10, 2011
By Amanda Ryder

Aug. 10, 2011 – Proven Winners Color Choice®, Encore® Azaleas, Endless
Summer Collection®, First Editions®, The Knock Out® Family of Roses,
Drift® Roses, and Southern Living® Plant Collection are joining forces
in a new enterprise aimed at protecting their plant patents and branded
programs.

Aug. 8, 2011 — Proven Winners Color Choice®, Encore® Azaleas, Endless
Summer Collection®, First Editions®, The Knock Out® Family of Roses,
Drift® Roses, and Southern Living® Plant Collection are joining forces
in a new enterprise aimed at protecting their plant patents and branded
programs.
 
“Purchasing new varieties doesn’t give a grower the right to take
cuttings. We’ve worked hard to establish our brands and spent tens of
thousands of dollars on patents. Enforcing these Intellectual Property
rights is necessary to support our customers and licensees,” said Jeremy
Deppe from Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc., the developers of the Proven
Winners Color Choice brand.
 
Starting this fall, nurseries across the country can expect a polite inspection by Plant Watch®
representatives to see how they are meeting the requirements of these
branded programs.  It’s well known how expensive it is to establish a
plant brand in the landscape and nursery business.  Growers who comply
with patent and branding requirements are at a disadvantage when
infringers undercut prices.  In order to  support their network of
compliant growers, Spring Meadow Nursery, Bailey Nurseries, Conard-Pyle,
and Plant Development Services Inc. have hired Plant Watch® to inspect
nurseries, report on their findings, and collect fines where warranted.
 
Plant Watch® started in 2005 and is modeled after COPF
in Canada, a well-known monitoring program established in 1964.  COPF
has been inspecting for Spring Meadow Nursery since 2008, resulting in
more than $30,000 in fines collected during 2010 alone.  According to
Plant Watch® managing director Peggy Walsh Craig, “everyone agrees that
prices need to be improved. We need to sell more plants to more and
different kinds of people. Branding, patenting and monitoring help
accomplish these goals. Unfortunately, some growers are taking advantage
illegally of the investment made by other growers in these programs.”
 
Nurseries found to be non-compliant will be assessed a significant fine
based on the number of unauthorized plants discovered, and the
destruction of those plants will be required.  Growers are reminded that
plant patents and Plant Breeders’ Rights are based on having permission
to propagate.  Ask before you cut!

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