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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions 13-15  
13. Does this mean that the home gardener or farmer cannot propagate the seed of a protected variety and save it for future planting?

Answer: Under provisions of the PVP law and regulations growers and home gardeners can grow, and save seed for their own future planting, any legally purchased protected variety they wish. However some protected varieties that are sold may have other limitations due to patents or contracts and may not be saved for future planting.

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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15. What exemptions are there to the protection provided?

Answer: In general, there are two exemptions to the protection provided.

1. A research exemption to allow the use for breeding to develop a new variety; and

2. A farmer's exemption to allow the saving of seed for the sole use of replanting the farmer's land. Neither plant patents nor utility patents provide these exemptions.

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  Last Modified Date: 08/23/2006