Seed World

Seed Innovations: How Far Have We Come in Vegetables Flowers?

Jill N. Link is a patent attorney and chair of the MVS Licensing Practice Group.
Daniel Knauss is IP litigation partner at Cooley LLP.

Commitment. That’s what you can expect from your local seed companies who invest anywhere from 15-30% of their sales into research and development. A seed company does this with the long-term view in creating a valuable seed business model for continued innovation in a $20.8 billion U.S. seed sector. You see, it takes anywhere from 7-16 years to commercialize a new vegetable variety/hybrid in today’s environment even with today’s new breeding techniques which potentially can speed up the pipeline! But this requires the seed company’s and your commitment.

For each seed variety genetic traits provide desired characteristics, think size, shape, flavors, along with disease tolerance, higher yields and the like. These traits are durable and reproducible as a result of breeding and other research and development from the seed company. Seed companies continuously develop to new seed varieties to meet market demands and customer requests. This research and development has provided unprecedented variety development.   

Look at how far plant breeding has brought us from the original crops!

Photo Credit: Marcel Bruins
Photo Credit: Marcel Bruins

Seed companies are also committed to ensuring that their varieties are protected by the strongest intellectual property protection. This benefits growers because only growers partnered with their seed companies will have access to the newest and best varieties. Since the 2018 amendment of the Farm Bill added more Plant Variety Protections to include asexually reproduced types, the strength of your seed company’s intellectual property (IP) protections of vegetables and flowers has only grown. This beneficially allows reinvestment into further research and development. 

With all the exciting vegetable seed innovations in the pipeline to meet growers’ needs as well as finicky consumers, it should feel good to have seed partners that are there right with you, listening to your needs and providing support as you begin each new crop!

Growers have a number of sources available to purchase seed. Buying from your authorized seed company or seed retailer that sells only new professionally produced seed or certified seed positions you and the seed industry to continue advancements through reinvestments in into research and development to meet your needs. Buying new professionally produced seed or certified seed ensures that IP protections are not violated. Simply put, purchasing seed that is not certified (unless it is properly authorized) is against the law and it hurts the seed industry by failing to protect the intellectual property rights of the seed company.

Your seed companies are committed to you. Seed company members of the Seed Innovation Protection Alliance (SIPA) thank you for your commitment to “buy new professionally processed seed from authorized seed companies and seed dealers.”   

To anonymously report seed or plant variety infringement, please call 1-844-SEEDTIP or visit

Want to Read More? Check out:

Leading is Defining Reality, Then Saying Thank You

Seed Innovation: What’s in it For me as a Grower?

Don’t Step Over the Line in Grasses

The Goose’s Daily Golden Egg

U.S. Seed Sector, Intellectual Property and Policy: The Three Amigos!