ASSBT Biennial Meeting – Feb. 24 – Feb 27, 2025 in Long Beach, CA
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Intellectual property in the US: Fostering innovation through R&D.


KWS Seeds, Inc., 5705 West Old Shakopee Road, Suite 110, Bloomington, MN 55437


Intellectual property (IP) protection in the US recognizes the value of innovation and enables purposeful access to such innovations across the sugar beet industry.  US Patents and Plant Variety Protection (PVP) are two forms of IP protection that are available to continue providing breakthrough technological developments directed to supporting the continued growth and success of our industry.  Research and development are essential for the continued advancement of the sugar beet industry. Research institutions, government agencies, corporations and others in the industry have made, and continue to make, significant and long-term investments in R&D to provide new innovations in sugar beet research, increasing the yield potential as well as the stability of the crop to tolerate stresses caused by disease, weeds, and insect pressure.  The US IP systems serve to support these investments by rewarding innovation and incentivizing future investments in R&D.  The advantages of the US IP systems are utilized throughout the sugar beet industry, ranging from innovations in crop genetics, to process technology optimization and product refinement.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examines patent applications under the US Patent laws directed to the utility, novelty, and non-obviousness of an innovation, in view of the caselaw interpreting those laws. In doing so, the US patent system appropriately grants a limited protection only to those innovations that meet these rigorous standards. The USPTO has further streamlined its examination process to eliminate laws of nature or natural phenomena from patent-eligible subject matter, so only useful, new, and non-obvious innovations are eligible for patent protection in the US for a statutorily defined period of time.  Plant Variety Protection is another form of IP and is administered through the USDA’s Plant Variety Protection Office.  PVP registration protects new, distinct, uniform, and stable (DUS) plant varieties and enables the management of the use of these varieties by other breeders.  A PVP owner has the ability to allow the use of a protected variety for breeding by others to develop new varieties, thereby providing a platform for continued innovation and incentivizing the development of new and improved varieties.  The sugar beet industry must meaningfully address the challenges which lie ahead of us, like climate change, sustainability, and feeding the growing world population, using all the benefits of the IP systems to continue to foster innovation through R&D.

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