Skip to main content

Trends in Intellectual Property Protection in Plant Breeding

To Register, click the 'Location' link.

Speaker Bio:

James R. Myers, Professor of Vegetable Breeding and Genetics, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Dr. Myers holds the Baggett-Frazier Endowed Chair of Vegetable Breeding and Genetics in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University where he breeds a half dozen vegetable crops. His main interests have been to improve vegetable and field crop varieties for disease resistance, human nutrition and organic production systems. He teaches a graduate course on intellectual property as applied to plant improvement at OSU.


The intellectual property (IP) landscape for crop cultivars is constantly evolving. Most plant breeders are familiar with plant patents and plant variety protection, but in industry especially, utility patents are now the most commonly used form of IP protection. Both public and private sectors are also layering contract law as licenses upon patent law. Licenses and utility patents especially restrict timely exchange of germplasm for breeding purposes. In the long run, this may retard the rate of genetic gain compared to what was achieved in the latter half of the 20th century. The public and private sectors have responded in different ways to attempt to regain access to elite genetic resources. Public breeders have called for agreements amongst public breeding program that recognize the need to exchange and use germplasm for crosses, and one group has initiated the Open Source Seed Initiative with the goal of ensuring that genetic resources remain in the genetic commons. The private sector has formed consortiums to facilitate the exchange of materials under license agreements. It is unclear whether either of these avenues facilitate public-private sector exchanges of germplasm. This webinar will provide an overview of types of IP protection available for crop plants, shifts in their use and proposed solutions to facilitating plant breeding as a cooperative effort.

Who Is Attending

Add Comment

Comments (0)


About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

Link copied to your clipboard.