When you think of a patent, you probably think first about a machine or manufactured good of some kind. Most patents go to protect manmade objects.
However, there is another type of patent you may not be familiar with called a plant patent. According to FindLaw, this type of protection is available for a distinct new plant that you have discovered or developed if you can reproduce it asexually.
Who can seek a plant patent?
If you developed a new plant, either by yourself or working with one or more others, you have the right to seek a plant patent, as are the people you worked with. If you did not grow the plant but were responsible for reproducing it asexually, you also have the right to apply for a plant patent.
These eligibility requirements apply to individuals, but if a service performs the asexual reproduction at your direction, it is not eligible for a patent.
What does asexual reproduction mean?
Asexual reproduction means producing more specimens of the same plant by any means other than by planting a seed. For example, if you can take a graft or a cutting of the plant and reproduce it by planting it, that is an example of asexual reproduction. The ability to duplicate the plant is an important eligibility requirement for a plant patent.
What other requirements do you have to meet to get a plant patent?
If you find a distinct plant, you can patent it as long as you can prove that it is new. You can also patent a plant that you develop yourself.
However, not just any new plant that you develop can receive a patent. For example, tuber propagated plants are not eligible.