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Plant registration and plant breeders’ rights

BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 2,912
I am asking this out of nothing more than curiosity, an interest piqued by someone saying on the clematis thread that they had bred a new plant which they were considering registering.

Doing some superficial research it seems registering the plant with the RHS is free but applying for Plant Breeders’ Rights incurs an administration fee of about £750 and a c. £2000 annual registration charge. I can easily guess the bottom figure - £0 - but if a plant is PBR protected what possible returns might accrue?

I know that I am effectively answering how long is a piece of string but if the plant makes its way into more than a few garden centres and if there is a tie up with a distributor would the advance payments be more than covered? Is the owner of the rights to geranium Rozanne enjoying a life of indolence in the Caribbean? 

I have no aspiration whatsoever to breed my own plants but I am just wondering about financial returns for those that do. A friend of mine is a successful author and moans all the time about the pittance she’s paid in royalties. In that case, I am often tempted to say, sell one of your four houses. How high up the hog do successful plant breeders live?

Posts

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 9,727
    I have absolutely no idea, but I agree it is an interesting question, and I would now love to know the answer.
    Southern trees bear a strange fruit
    Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,227
    Don't know if it will give you life of unbridled luxury,  but if you ever discover the next "Rozanne",  here's how to go about it.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/plant-breeders-rights
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,745
    I think most amateurs who breed something potentially marketable then sell it to one of the plant breeding companies who have the capabilities and funds to produce millions of whatever it is quickly and to promote it successfully. 

    No no idea how much the amateur gets paid for it tho’ . 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Picidae, I posted the picture of the new clematis earlier, first flowers look very exciting.  I have bred and Registered several in the past including clematis Carol Klein, which is now available in many other countries, I never put PBR on any of them, not sure of costs but the paperwork alone is enough to put me off.
  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,668
    We have a close friend who got PBR on a Geranium. After well over 10 years of it she is still not in profit even though the plant sells quite well in America, though not so much in Britain.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 10,832
    Lovely picture @Richard Hodson



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,745
    😊 👍 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • AussieMattAussieMatt Posts: 2
    I'm reviving an old thread here, Im aware, but I think I've got relevant information to add for people who might be searching for such information in the future.

    Dovefromabove is half right. But an amateur doesn't necessarily have to "sell it" to the big companies. 

    As an amateur, if you discover a new marketable variety, you can and should obtain a PBR. PBR's are 100% transferable...they are essentially property so yes, theoretically, a PBR can be sold. And in that scenario I don't know how much you'd get. But I imagine it would be worked out by calculating what they think its worth to them over 20 years (PBR length) and then offering you half, a third, a quarter...or most likely something else even lower. I dont think this is ever the way to go as you'd just be selling yourself short. One now, or two later. Go with the two. The only reason the sell it outright immediately would be if you were super lazy and just dont want to do even the most minimal of "work". 

    Why? Because as an amateur, you dont actually need the "capabilities and funds to produce millions of whatever it is quickly and promote it successfully" as a prerequisite in order to hold on to the PBR. This is what licensing is for. You keep the PBR and license it out to one or usually a number of large wholesale growers in Europe and/or North America and get paid royalties for every plant sold. They do the growing. They do the marketing. You merely sign a contract, retain the PBR, sit back and let the money roll in. 

    The way to do this as an amateur is to contact a horticultural marketing company. I know this from personal experience. They will usually give you free advice if you contact them with a potential new variety. They will do some preliminary research and get advice from contacts etc and will determine if there is some merit in your new variety. If so, you can decide to officially work with them to help bring your plant to market. They can do as much or as little of the process as you like. Many can do the entire process, from grow trials and QPs, PBR and legal stuff, marketing and finding growers locally and internationally and then licensing. As an amateur, you can obtain, keep, and license your variety with as little work as sending a few emails, making a few phone calls, attending a few meetings, and signing a few contracts. Of course, you'll pay for this service on top of the general PBR costs so it's thousands on top of thousands. Not cheap, but if its worth it then its worth it. They will help you determine that. 

    I know of a case of an amateur who simply noticed a variegated sport growing on a plant in his backyard. He isolated it by taking a cutting and propagated more from that one. He obtained the PBR, licenced it out, and last year sold 500,000 units in Europe for which he got +100k in royalties. So sometimes its a winner. But as the friend of Paulustris and their geranium shows, sometimes is does turn out to be a dud. Most times its probably somewhere inbetween. But if a "dud" is paying for itself 10 years into 20 years of rights, and the average is probably a little better, if not a bit more, and there is at least a chance of it going bananas, then I think you'd be crazy not to go after it for the relatively small amount of work that needs to be done to get, keep and exploit the rights as an amateur.

    Well thats my 2 cents. Im not an expert. Everything I've said is all well and good...and a good general rule of thumb, in my opinion. But of course it does come down to the individual plant in question. Each case will inevitably be different and some cases will go against what Ive said here for a potential myriad of reasons. At many thousands of dollars to obtain PBR, sometimes it just wont be worth it. So always seek advice from one or more professionals. 
  • BraidmanBraidman Posts: 172
    .
    It is not the breeding of new varieties but the marketing that is the difficulty, Austin's, roses and Evison, clematis breed thousands of new varieties every year, but only a few get to go on sale after about 10 years assessing their form , the rest are dumped, so it is difficult for the ordinary person having something specular and out of this world.

    T & M used to appeal in their catalogues if anyone had a new variety they would do the needful, cannot remember them saying they had a new plant donated by a customer, but i'm open to correction!

    As for PBRs, the Dutch in particular don't, won't pay their way, they just rename and say they have bred them,aka  Choisya Sundance, they renamed it Moonbeam and there was nothing the owners of the variety could do!

    It is difficult dealing with a bunch of chancers!


  • AussieMattAussieMatt Posts: 2
    Braidman said:
    .
    1) It is not the breeding of new varieties but the marketing that is the difficulty, Austin's, roses and Evison, clematis breed thousands of new varieties every year, but only a few get to go on sale after about 10 years assessing their form , the rest are dumped, so it is difficult for the ordinary person having something specular and out of this world.

    2) As for PBRs, the Dutch in particular don't, won't pay their way, they just rename and say they have bred them,aka  Choisya Sundance, they renamed it Moonbeam and there was nothing the owners of the variety could do!
    1) Agreed that its not about the breeding. Basically the only way for am amateur to end up with something worth gaining the rights for is to merely stumble accross a random mutation. But with millions upon millions of amateur gardeners, it does happen more than you'd think, and even more get overlooked or unnoticed. Tis kind of besides the point anyways. We're talking about what to do it you DO find something. 

    2) I don't really know what you mean by that. In order to obtain PBR, the variety in question must go through grow trials by a qualified person called DUS grow trials. Distictness (D), Uniformity (U), and Stability (S). They are the three key aspects to determining if its a new variety. In order to be "distinct" it must be sufficiently different from any other variety already registered. So if you've got the PBR, how could they possibly do that? Firstly, its not distinct so they couldn't register it as a new variety. And secondly, if you already have the PBR and they go and steal it then you have full legal rights...you could sue the pants off them. So again, I dont know what you mean. Unless you're going to them before you get the PBR...in which case thats on you. Why would you do that? Thats the whole point about getting PBR. Those protections are built in.
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