Here are some of the guidelines for naming new varieties to comply with the Federal Seed Act.
- A variety can only have one name.
- The same name cannot be given to more than one variety of the same kind or a closely related kind. Kinds of the same species such as pumpkin and squash, field corn and sweet corn, and garden bean and field bean cannot have varieties with the same name. Closely related kinds that are known to intercross such as wheat and triticale cannot have varieties with the same name.
- A variety name cannot be misleading such as a name that is similar to an existing name but differs only in spelling or punctuation.
- Varieties with names derived from the name of an existing variety must be closely related to the existing variety.
- The same variety name cannot be used for different kinds of cool season turfgrass such as fescues, bluegrasses, ryegrasses and bentgrass.
- The same name cannot be assigned to more than one kind or warm season turfgrass such as bermudagrass and zoysia.
- Variety names may contain trademarks, but the trademark status is lost in the sense that anyone marketing seed of that variety must use the entire variety name including the trademark.
- A trademark symbol or registered trademark symbol cannot be displayed in the variety name.
- A trademark by itself cannot be a variety name and a variety name cannot be trademarked.
Seed Regulatory and Testing Division
LS, AMS, U.S. Department of Agriculture
801 Summit Crossing Place, Suite C
Gastonia, North Carolina 28054-2193