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Property release named plant varieties

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If you have bought a plant, or grown one from seed, that is a named variety, what is the situation re property release?


Does the original plant breeder/grower maintain copyright or does it transfer to the owner?

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I don't think it is copyright issue, from the UK IPO (my default starting point, it is a model of clarity considering the topic).:

"You automatically get copyright protection when you create:

  • original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including illustration and photography
  • original non-literary written work, such as software, web content and databases
  • sound and music recordings
  • film and television recordings
  • broadcasts
  • the layout of published editions of written, dramatic and musical works"

Similarly you cannot patent " ‘essentially biological’ processes like crossing-breeding plants, and plant or animal varieties "


I don't believe you could register a plant as a design or trademark it (very specific rules about the form of the trademark).


That would suggest that there is not an issue using such images unless there is case law that suggests otherwise, or the library/agency has its own policy. One could argue that there is more benefit to the grower than damage by promoting a named variety. My £0.02p but I am not a lawyer, just someone with a long interest in intellectual property matters since my early teens (my father was an inventor amongst other things).

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Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR) applies mainly to the propagation and sale of named and registered varieties of plants.  As far as I know it's not possible to copyright them.  I photograph a lot of PBR plants (who'd have guessed) and I've never considered a property release was even necessary.  

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