Intellectual Property Policy Statement of HM.CLAUSE
The creation of new plant varieties requires a long-term and substantial investment in research and development. Variety creation, like all other forms of creativity can be protected by intellectual property rights that provides an appropriate and fair opportunity to earn a return on the investment. By capturing such returns, the means to reinvest in new research and development projects to produce the better varieties required to meet the needs of future markets is supported.
HM.CLAUSE as being part of the group Limagrain’s Vegetable Seed Division is at the forefront of fundamental research and variety creation that are available to growers for all main vegetable markets. Our innovations are protected using the different forms of intellectual property available.
A specific form of intellectual property right tailored to plant breeding is based on the international treaty known as UPOV and commonly called Plant Breeders Rights (PBR). These formal property rights have been enacted in over 70 countries. This law has spurred the investment needed to successfully advance plant breeding by allowing the opportunity to earn a fair return for the value created by the breeder. It does so by giving the owner the exclusive right to produce, market and sell the variety. At the same time, under UPOV’s breeders exemption, the greater social good is met by allowing other breeders to develop new and improved varieties from the existing protected variety. As such, the UPOV system combines protection and access to form a rational and open system that respects investment while allowing innovation.
In addition to new variety development, great progress has been made in developing new processes, techniques and combination of traits that meet the challenges that growers face every day and the market imposes. These innovations, and the investment they represent, can be protected by the well-established patent systems available in a majority of the countries of the world. These patent rights grant the owner exclusive rights, and therefore incentive, to develop unique innovations.
In the spirit of the UPOV breeders exemption, HM.CLAUSE, along with its parent company, Group Limagrain, actively lobbies to add the breeders exemption into the patent laws of all countries thereby allowing access to the under-lying plant genetics accompanying the patented innovation. Under this exemption, a new variety made from the plant containing the patented innovation, but not containing the patented innovation, could be freely commercialized. If the new variety still contained the patented innovation, a license from the patent holder would be required.
As a member of the International Licensing Platform (ILP), HM.CLAUSE makes accessible to other members of the ILP the genetic composition of the varieties containing protected innovations for new breeding actions in line with the breeders exemption. Under formal contractual terms the use of the patented subject matter can be commercialized by the licensee, whether the new product has been developed internally or from HM.CLAUSE own varieties. In the interest of fair competition it will also consider licensing to other industry members.
HM.CLAUSE has an active product risk management policy, monitoring and analyzing markets related to the illegal use of its material through seeds or cuttings for sales or direct production purposes. It reserves the right to exclude others from using its intellectual property in accordance with the rights established under the national laws and regulations that govern patents, PVPs, contracts and trade secrets. Where appropriate, it will enforce its established rights as the property owner.