Tech Transfer Central

University Plant Breeding Programs

Key Intellectual Property Protection And Licensing Considerations
Format: On-Demand Video/Transcript, or DVD
Originally presented: Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Price: $197
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Plant breeding is a huge part of the agricultural economy, and for many TTOs it’s huge part of their tech transfer licensing activity that’s not only a source of revenue, but also a source of economic growth for the agricultural economy. In fact, in 2020 alone, universities had a part in contributing upwards of $1.055 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product coming from the agriculture, food, and related industries. In the same year, 9.7 million full-and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors.

It’s a huge industry with plenty of competition between universities and private plant breeding companies trying to stake a claim to a growing market. It is imperative that universities aggressively protect their valuable plant assets via patents, plant variety protection, trademarks, and trade secret protection not only to secure their IP, but also to encourage continued R&D investments and bring new innovations to farmers. Yet there’s little guidance available for universities in terms of the specific intellectual property and licensing issues unique to this complex arena.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with John Sears and Carin Miller from JMIN to provide critical guidance on key IP protection and licensing considerations for new plants and plant varieties.

University Plant Breeding Programs

The presentation will provide detailed advice on the use of utility patents, plant patents, plant variety protection, trademarks, and trade secrets as applied specifically to this unique area of innovation.

During this 90-minute session, we’ll also discuss the process and application procedures for utility patents, plant patents, and plant variety protection in the U.S. and internationally. We’ll review the anatomy of the plant license, particularly in the university context, and review relevant case law.

Here is a brief look at the program agenda:

  • Role of universities in plant breeding
    • Examples of university success stories
    • New opportunities in plant breeding arising from indoor and precision agriculture
  • Intellectual Property Protection in Plants
    • Utility Patents, Plant Patents, PVP, Trademarks, Trade Secrets
    • Compare/Contrast: Utility Patent vs. Plant Patents vs. PVPs
      • Filing strategy considerations
      • Application procedure and timelines
    • Foreign Intellectual Property Protection in Plants
  • Anatomy of the plant license
  • Review of relevant legal cases in the field
    1. E.M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred Int’ l, Inc.,534 U.S. 124, 143-46, 122 S.Ct. 593, 605-06, 60 USPQ2d 1865, 1874 (2001)
    2. Bowman v. Monsanto Co., 569 U.S. 278 (2013)
    3. Asgrow Seed Co. v. Winterboer, 513 U.S. 179 (1995)
    4. In re Beineke,690 F.3d 1344, 1352, 103 USPQ2d 1872, 1877 (Fed. Cir. 2012)
    5. Ex parte Hibberd,227 USPQ 443, 447 (Bd. Pat. App. & Int. 1985)
    6. In re Arzberger,112 F. 2d 834, 46 USPQ 32 (CCPA 1940)
    7. Syngenta Seeds, Inc. v. Delta Cotton Co-Operative, Inc., No. 05-1507 (Fed. Cir. July 28, 2006)
    8. Syngenta Seeds, LLC v. Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Inc., 2:19-cv-01986-TLN-CKD, (E.D. Cal. Jan. 10, 2022)
    9. Turfgrass Grp., Inc. v. Ne. La. Turf Farms, LLC, DOCKET NO. 3:10-1354, (W.D. La. Sep. 30, 2014)

Use the recorded streaming video for future training and education

Meet your expert presenters

John SearsJohn Sears
Senior Partner
(Formerly the Founder of Innovators Legal)

John is a Senior Partner with JMIN after his former firm, Innovators Legal, merged with JMIN in August of 2023. John’s wide-ranging experience includes overseeing in-house intellectual property operations and diligence for venture capital and private equity groups, running research labs, working in startups and university tech-transfer offices, and managing and prosecuting complex intellectual property strategies. Drawing from these, he offers a multi-dimensional legal, technical, and business perspective to clients seeking to bring complex breakthrough technologies to market.

John takes a pragmatic approach to counseling clients and believes a valuable IP strategy must rest upon an in-depth understanding of the technology and the business. He assists numerous professional and corporate venture groups seeking to invest in early-stage technology companies, identifying and mitigating risks and weaknesses. He is also a trusted advisor for startup companies across industries, counseling them to develop and prosecute strong IP strategies, raise venture capital and private equity, and form the strategic partnerships necessary to bring new technologies to market.

John has a Ph.D. in quantum chemistry, is a published author, and has taught at leading research universities. His numerous presentations to national and international audiences include meetings of the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, the International Symposium on Functional π-Electron Systems, the European Conference on Molecular Electronics, and Gordon Research Conferences.

John continues to work with many university clients and understands the needs of university technology transfer offices. In addition, he actively participates in the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and is a Certified Licensing Professional.

Carin MillerCarin Miller
(Formerly the Founder of Innovators Legal)

Carin Miller, a registered U.S. patent attorney, specializes in prosecuting biotechnology, agricultural biology, molecular biology, biochemical, cell, agriculture, and animal-related inventions. She has intellectual property experience in biotechnology, chemical, biochemical, medical arts, and mechanical.

Carin has worked on patents related to small molecules, drug delivery, pharmaceuticals, cell-based therapies for human and veterinary treatment, recombinant nucleic acids and proteins, biological sensors, molecular assays, cell lines, transgenic animals and plants, and glucose responsive vehicle control devices. Miller also has experience with trademark preparation and prosecution, as well as licensing and due diligence issues.

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