Varieties currently under patent - list anywhere?

Does anyone know of any lists summarizing which varieties of common fruits (e.g., apples, plums) are currently under patent and when those patents expire?

For example, a number of disease resistant apple varieties have come out of the PRI Co-op (e.g., Pixie Crunch, Sundance, William’s Pride, Pristine, Goldrush, Liberty, Freedom), some of which are still under patent and some of which were under patent but the patent has expired.

Also, how much care do I need to exercise when buying trees of patented varieties, particularly from someone who does custom grafting? If it’s a commercial business that supplies the scion wood and / or rootstock (if only one of the two, orders the other from someone), can I reasonably assume that everything is fine on the patent royalty front or is this something I need to make a particular point of doing?

Also, what if I buy scion wood from a commercial supplier? Can I assume the supplier has that end taken care of, or do I need to do something?

Per previous discussions on rootstocks, some of the disease resistant varieties (a fair number of which are patented) may not be easily obtainable on one of my preferred rootstocks and custom grafting may be a good way to go, potentially including doing the grafting myself using purchased rootstocks and scion wood.

What I don’t want to do is to inadvertently violate someone’s patent or do something that’s obviously encouraging someone else to do the same (even if I have absolutely no legal culpability, since I view this as being as much a moral issue as a legal one).

Unless it’s something where paying a royalty is as simple as just sending a check to the patent holder on one’s own recognizance (e.g., they’ve said on their website, just send us $1.00 per tree and a one page form with your name, address, and how many of what variety you propagated), then dealing with the patent issues is likely to be a bit too much for me (e.g., negotiating a license to propagate a few trees would be a lot of work and total overkill, not to mention that the patent holder likely couldn’t be bothered with it due to the small amount of money involved).

Can anyone provide me with more insight on this issue?

Adams County Nursery’s ripening chart has a bunch marked with asterisks. It’s a start. Google it.

There are several lists out there. Here is one:

for mainly Dave Wilson items.

Here is another one someone put together:

it has some of the Purdue varieties on it. Looks like GoldRush has expired, I didn’t realize that.

If you telephone Boyer’s Nursery of Pennsylvania, and request their catalog, they’ve got a bunch of patents listed-- mostly peaches and apples.

Here is the patent list for plums:

This is the list for interspecifc plums:

For apples:

Thanks everybody!

Any insight into the questions later on in my original post? (It got kind of long and shifted topics a bit, I know.)

For example, if I buy scion wood or have a custom tree (rootstock, scion wood, grafting) done by a commercial entity, can I assume they have taken care of paying patent royalties or is this something I need to watch out for?

it’s amazing to me,looking at your patent apple list how many varieties never “made it”. There are so many I’ve never heard of, seen in a seed catalog or at the market. I thought I’d pretty much heard of all of them introduced in the last 50 years or so…but not even close. Wow…a real eye opener, and the oldest one there was from 1978 I think.

True. For example, the Zaigers patented a peach x plum x nectarine hybrid named “Yuba Gold” about twelve years ago, and to this day, I have not seen it in commercial orchards nor in the farmets markets, it’s not even listed on the DWN website.

Or sometimes, they are marketed as different names. For example, sweet treat pluerry is marketed as “sweet treat pluerry” but patented as, “sweet pixie ll”. And “sweet pixie” is marketed as, “verry verry cherry plum.”

yeah…and I think most of the co-op # apple varieties were introductions from PRI, at least I know they use those names initially. Maybe others do as well. For example Co-Op 31 was later the PRI introduction Winecrisp. It seems the patent is applied for even before trials begin, which makes sense since they basically give out the material for test plantings. I’m assuming if test trials are successful a “catchy” name is applied and the marketing phase is commenced.


Like you, I’m also pretty careful about not violating plant patents. I don’t offer patented scionwood for trade, nor do I ask for any.

If I order trees from a nursery, I assume they have the appropriate licensing to sell the plants legally. I’m not going to invest a lot of time try to confirm whether or not they have the correct patent licensing. I assume they do, or they wouldn’t be in business.

A small individual who sells scionwood might be different. Some of those folks don’t check if a variety is under patent protection before selling the scionwood. In that case I check myself to make sure the variety is legal to sell without licensing.

Plant patents expire 20 years after the application is filed (not when the patent was granted . The patents are issued in numerical order of when they are granted (which closely corresponds to numerical order of when the application was filed). So anything with a plant patent number of 9000 or less is going to be expired. In other year, pretty much anything with a plant patent number of 10,000 or less is going to be expired.

Here is where you can do a numerical patent search US Patent Full-Text Database Number Search

I don’t know of any fruit breeder who has a Website allowing someone to pay $1 to propagate their varieties. It would be nice if they offered that.

As an FYI, I noticed a couple errors on the Dave Wilson list Scott linked above. In the peach section, they list O’Henry and Rich May under patent protection. That’s incorrect. Both of those varieties are free to propagate.

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This issue is important to me too. Thanks to those who provided links. It can be hard to find.

I do not want to violate someone’s hard work. Some of those patents involved testing thousands of hybrids and years of efforts.

For my own propagation efforts I have been concentrating mostly on heritage varieties. Partly the patent issue and partly because it seems like a lot of newer varieties are adapted to California climate or not disease resistant. The big exception is the PRI varieties. I could be mistaken on all of that… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

This year I bought scion of historic varieties from Fedco. Happy with the selections. It took a lot of research for me to select disease resistant apples - several sources, and internet searches.

Their plums seem to be the opposite of Zaiger hybrids - adapted to northern conditions. So I’m trying 3, Hanska, Ember, and LaCrescent.

I personally don’t feel bad if I am just putting in a limb or two to test a variety - while legally its no different I don’t think the creator would mind.

I agree too that plant patents should be respected. For me though, some of the syndicated varieties that received Federal monies for their development are different. I disagree strongly with what has been done in this area on moral, ethical and (in my mind of law) legal grounds as well. If I got my hands on some Snapdragon or Ruby Frost wood I’d graft it in a heartbeat and wouldn’t care one bit about the breeders or the university that used some of my money to produce it. That’s just me.

I should add that the concept of what they did was I think, well intentioned. At least I hope so.

I was looking into breeding some blackberries to make a more adaptable plant for my area with superior taste. OSU patented Columbia Star blackberry. But in the University pdf about the plant state that breeders can use it for free, just to mention it was used. They also produced the Newberry cultivar and did not patent it. The feds I think help develop these too.
Whereas the University of Arkansas has been pursuing people who violate their patent on the Ark series. Some farmer mentioned the feds wanting proof of purchase of every Ark plant he had, wow!

“Whereas the University of Arkansas has been pursuing people who violate their patent on the Ark series. Some farmer mentioned the feds wanting proof of purchase of every Ark plant he had, wow!”

Definitely wow.

As blackberries grow, they’ll spread around as they are able. I can understand saying “don’t give canes away to someone else” or even “don’t let canes fill in an area and then take canes from there to fill in another area, instead buy some more canes”

However, if I buy some blackberry canes to plant in my yard, it’s a given that if there’s any extra space in my blackberry bed, they’ll fill it in. If they have an opportunity, they’ll also start spreading outside their growing bed - such as into the lawn, where they’ll get mowed down periodically. (They may send out runners under the ground that emerge in the neighbor’s yard where I won’t even know about them. Do they expect me to be responsible for those, too?)

There’s just not any realistic way to track how many are growing in my blackberry bed at any given time to compare against how many I bought. One plant will usually grow many canes, besides which it would be easy for the thing to get severed in two underground with anyone knowing about, with the result that there are now two plants.

I’m all for respecting patents; one just has to realize at the same time that some types of plants try very hard to propagate themselves and it’s just not possible to thoroughly police all of them all of the time.

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To clarify what I meant, obviously the canes WILL fill in an area if they can - what I meant was I can understand saying not to take some from area #1 after the canes have filled it in and then use those extras to fill in area #2 when it is evident that area #2 is a entirely separate area than area #1.

The standard advice for blacking blackberries is to plant them in rows with considerable distance (IIRC, six or eight feet) between plantings. Everybody and his brother knows the plants are going to grow a lot bigger than the size they started out as.

I think the guy was selling plants, but he actually purchased them wholesale and was doing nothing wrong. I agree though It’s like when your neighbor’s tree falls on your house, you can’t really sue them, it was an act of God, same with blackberry suckers, I pulled out about 10 canes from the ground in the last year. i didn’t want plants there. But if they say we can’t propagate (And I believe they do!) it’s not possible to stop them all, and why should I? i didn’t do anything! I agree, with you Much. I think if you challenged this in court you would win. As far as how blackberries.propagate.

Hey is Triple Crown still under patent? Anybody know? This one roots like crazy and I threw three plants out today. I should have saved them for others.

Triple Crown was developed by the USDA. It was never patented. In the past, the USDA has almost never patented any of their releases.

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Thanks for the info!