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14. How is protection of the variety enforced?

Answer: The owner of a protected variety may bring civil action against persons infringing on his or her rights. The owner may ask a court to issue an injunction to prevent others from further violations. It is the owner of the protected variety who must bring suit in such cases. USDA will not take that action. In the USA, intellectual property protection for plants is provided through plant patents, plant variety protection, and utility patents. Plant patents provide protection for asexually reproduced (by vegetation) varieties excluding tubers. Plant variety protection provides protection for sexually (by seed) reproduced varieties including tubers, F1 hybrids, and essentially derived varieties. Utility patents currently offer protection for any plant type or plant parts. A plant variety can also receive double protection under a utility patent and plant variety protection.

For additional information concerning utility and plant patents please contact the Patent and Trademark Office at Patents and Trademarks, Washington, DC, 20231, or their internet web site at: Their web site provides answers to frequently asked questions concerning patents, guides to filing utility and plant patent applications, and access to their database.

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  Last Modified Date: 06/29/2006