We know agriculture…period; commodity row crops to forage crops to ornamental greenhouse/nursery production to turf production to fruits & vegetables and beyond. At one time or another, Sam has worked in either or both of the technical and practical realm for all of these agribusiness disciplines. We understand agribusiness from the day-to-day operational tasks of the laborer all the way to the top and the tough business decisions facing owners and managers on a daily basis. At PPC, we apply our experience with these realities and take a no non-sense and straightforward approach to your breeder rights.
Specifically regarding Plant Patents, our services include (but are not limited to):
Botanical Data Collection: In order to obtain a US Plant or Utility Patent, the PTO requires an applicant to provide “full disclosure” for what the Inventor (Breeder) considers to be their invention. For Plant Patents and Utility Patents for plants, this cannot be achieved without a full Description of each morphological characteristic of your plant. This means describing your plant in terms accepted by those of “ordinary skill in the art” or, in other words, in technical scientific terminology. If you do not know the difference between the “calyx” and “perianth”… a “petiole” and a “pedicil” or any other of the dozens and dozens of plant morphological characteristics and descriptors and how to accurately measure and record each, then you probably need our assistance.
Botanical Description Drafting: Collecting Plant Data is one thing; knowing how to take this raw data and create a proper Botanical Description that will pass the rigors of PTO Examination is something else entirely. Not only does PPC offer Plant Data Collection but we are also fully able and qualified to draft the Botanical Description based on the collected data. Get it right and the Patent application process can move swiftly and without unforeseen additional expenses; get it wrong and the application and examination process can become extremely time consuming and expensive. Provided we have the complete list of required Plant Data (if we did not collect it on your behalf), PPC has the expertise and experience to get it right the first time.
Provisional Patent Application Preparation & Prosecution: Beginning in 1995, Inventors/Breeders were able to file a “Provisional” patent applications in the United States. This informal type of patent application establishes a priority filing date and provides inventors one additional year to prepare and file a formal utility patent application, allowing for U.S. patent protection that lasts 21 years from an initial filing date as opposed to only 20 years if the applicant begins the Patent process by going straight into a Non-Provisional application. As an informal application, a Provisional Patent application does not require all the formal elements of a Utility or Plant Patent but it is close. Regardless, we are more than able to assist you in a Provisional Patent application.
Non-Provisional Patent Application Preparation; Utility & Plant: As mentioned above, the PTO requires an applicant to fully disclose what they consider their invention; hence the Botanical Description. However this is only part of the primary requirement. Federal Patent law mandates that in exchange for the right to protect one’s invention (i.e. new plant variety) via a US Patent, he or she must also fully disclose to the public how to make the invention (we’re paraphrasing here…see 35 U.S.C. 112, First Paragraph for details). In order to do so, an applicant must follow detailed and specific formatting guidelines to meet this standard. This is known as the “Specification”. We have the experience necessary to ensure that your Patent application Specification is drafted to the PTO standards to ensure a streamlined application process.
Non-Provisional Patent Application Prosecution: Once all Plant Data is collected, a Plant Description drafted and the full and complete Specification is created, the application is ready for submission. At this point, there are some very specific requirements that must be followed in order to ensure that time is not lost and money is not wasted. Beyond those requirements and once your application is taken up for examination, it is very likely that the PTO will require additional information. Communicating with the PTO and meeting their requirements can be a daunting task for anyone without prior experience in these matters. PPC will act as your liaison with the PTO to ensure that all requirements are met, no deadlines are missed, all PTO communications are addressed and your Patent application progresses to a timely allowance and issuance. As your Agent, PPC will keep you informed and involved at every step along the way.
Reissue & Continuing Application Preparation: Contact for details.
Plant Variety Protection Administration: Contact for details.
Every breeder’s needs are different so rather than giving a rubber stamped answer for “how much” your Patent will cost, please consider the following to better acquaint yourself with some of the basics:
There are a few basic fees typically associated with the Patent application process, whether it be a Utility Patent or a Plant Patent. In general, these include the “Basic Filing Fees”, a “Publication Fee” and an “Issue Fee” with the latter two being paid once your patent application is allowed. There are, of course, [many] other fees that could possibly be associated with your Patent applications depending on certain actions that may be required of or desired by the applicant (you). Things like time extensions, over-sized application fees (rare in Plant Patents; more common in Utility Patents), late payment of fees, untimely response to a USPTO office action, petitions to revive applications after they become abandoned…and the list goes on. That being said, in almost every instance and provided that there is clear communication between the Breeder/Inventor and his/her Agent or Attorney, most if not all of these ancillary fees can be avoided in the prosecution of Plant Patents (and usually in Utility Patents for plants, as well).
With regards to fees, the USPTO provides that individuals, businesses who have less than 500 employees, individuals or businesses that have not licensed or assigned their rights in and to their invention to an entity with more than 500 employees or any Non-Profit organization (as defined by the US tax code) are entitled to pay a reduced rate on most filing fees. These folks are referred to as Small Entities and as such pay Small Entity fees. This is a significant savings for the independent Breeder/Inventor or the small to medium-sized company. With that in mind, the ‘typical’ USPTO fees are as follows:
- Provisional Patent Application: $65 for Micro Entity; $130 for Small Entity; $260 regular
- Plant Patent: $950 for Small Entity; $1900 regular
- Utility Patents: Contact for details.
It’s important to keep in mind that these are the minimum USPTO fees that an Inventor/Breeder can expect which DOES NOT include our service fees (below). Again, these are the common fees paid in most applications but there are also numerous ancillary fees that can ultimately affect the total amount of fees paid. Furthermore, Utility Patents require maintenance fees to be paid every three years for the life of the patent whereas Plant Patents do not have a Maintenance Fee requirement. The total cost for Utility Patent maintenance fees over the life of the patent is $4430 for Small Entities and $8860 for Utility Patents.
Perennial Plant Co. Service Fees
For the most part, PPC operates on a convenient flat fee system for Plant Patents, enabling our clients to accurately budget their Intellectual Property expenses: no tricky billing and no hidden charges. So, with most of our services you can expect a simple flat fee; whether that service takes us 5 hours or 50, you pay one fee. Obviously, not each and every service or circumstance fits neatly into a box so there are some situations where we will quote an hourly rate or special fee rate. Typically speaking, and with regards specifically to PLANT Patents, a Breeder should budget approximately $850 to $2000 for our services. The ultimate investment will depend on how many of our services (detailed above) you require. These are our approximate fees for PLANT Patents; if a Breeder/Inventor desires or requires Utility Patent protection for their plant genetics, he/she should budget two to four times this amount in administration fees, depending on the complexity of the case.
So for total PLANT Patent expenses, a Breeder/Inventor should budget approximately $2400 (Small Entity) if they have knowledge and resources available to collect their own Plant Data and draft their own Plant Description OR approximately $3500 (Small Entity) if you would like PPC to manage the entire process, beginning to end. Again, every Breeder’s needs can be different so it’s best to Contact Us for more information and to see how we can help.