Patent Prosecution

Plant Biology and Agriculture

Plant Biology and Agriculture intellectual property protection is complex. A wide variety of types of protection are available and the choice of protection is often not straightforward. More plant breeders are protecting their varieties and producers of new varieties of plants are relying on complex biotechnology techniques to produce novel plants or methods of controlling plant disease. The evolving nature and varied options for protecting these inventions requires a sophisticated team approach for intellectual property protection in this area.

More than 80 members strong, the Quarles & Brady's Intellectual Property Group is made up of patent attorneys; patent agents, technical specialists and engineers many of whom hold advanced degrees in relevant fields. We have experience counseling clients and providing business aware advice on protection of plant and agricultural inventions. We understand and work with the limitations to protection of natural products in the United States. Our team has experience preparing and obtaining utility patents for new plant varieties and genetically engineered plants, plant patents for asexually reproduced plants, and Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Certificates.

Plant-based inventions may be protected by utility patents, but many are eligible for protection via plant patents or Plant Variety Protection Certificates. Plant patents are available to protect new and distinct asexually reproduced plant varieties that are cultivated or otherwise specifically created, for example by plant breeding or by grafting a new genotype. Plant Variety Protection (PVP) is granted by the United States Department of Agriculture to protect new varieties of plants that are sexually reproduced (by seed), propagated by tubers or asexually reproduced. The choice between or combination of intellectual property protection is critical to the rights granted on these inventions and we are ready to advise on making these choices to protect your inventions. In addition, plant varieties may be eligible for trademark or variety denomination protection.

We represent a diverse array of clients with interests in plant horticulture, plant-based consumer products, weed control, pest control or resistance, and other agricultural methods. Members of our team also work on animal health and reproduction including animal vaccines, animal feed production, probiotics, and methods to enhance animal fitness or reduce animal disease.

Plant-Related Experience

Our specific experience involves plant-related utility patents, plant patents (for asexually reproducing plants including blackberries, grapes, peaches), and plant variety protection certificates (for plants such as potatoes, rice, soybeans, wheat, flowers). In particular, our team members have significant experience handling horticulture-related matters pertaining to:

  • Plant patents
  • Plant variety certification
  • Genetically engineered plants, gene editing
  • Microbial or other natural crop protectants
  • Food formulations, food processing methods
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Pest and weed control
  • Agrochemical materials
  • Bioenergy/biofuels
  • Utility patents directed to:
    • Plant biotechnology
    • Plant and crop improvement
    • Plant breeding
    • Animal feed formulations
    • Animal health related technology
    • Agricultural methods
    • Plant-based drugs or vaccines

Chemical Engineering

Our chemical engineering team develops strategies to protect all aspects of processing technologies, equipment, fluid transport, and all other novel aspects of converting raw materials into commercially-valuable end products. For example, our intellectual property attorneys have experience in the following areas:

  • Plant and process design
  • Fluid transport systems
  • Food processing equipment
  • Synergistic impact of combination of raw materials
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