CIOPORA and USPTO Discuss Distinctness, EDV Concept

Washington, D.C., September 6 – CIOPORA utilized its presence in the US capital during the two-day CIOPORA Academy session to hold a follow-up meeting with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, who also kindly hosted a tour for the workshop participants later that day.

At the USPTO, the CIOPORA delegation was greeted by Mrs Karin Ferriter (Deputy Chief Policy Officer, Office of Policy and International Affairs), Mr. Chris Hannon (Patent Attorney in the Office of Policy & International Affairs), Mrs. Elaine Wu (Office of Policy and International Affairs), with USPTO Director Mr Andrei Iancu joining the meeting in its part. The latter came as a surprise and was greatly appreciated by CIOPORA. In his address to CIOPORA representatives, Mr Iancu expressed USPTO commitment to granting robust IP titles and supporting innovators worldwide. He invited CIOPORA’s input as to concerns of the breeders, to which CIOPORA reciprocated by requesting the agency’s support before UPOV and on the global level.

In the course of the meeting, CIOPORA emphasized the importance of a sufficient Minimum Distance, whereas the breeders in the CIOPORA team explained negative commercial consequences of the shrinking distances between varieties. CIOPORA suggested that to guarantee for sufficient distinctness, Plant Patent application could require applicants to indicate the pre-existing varieties most similar to the candidate variety. Such procedural element would be in line with existing Plant Patent law, which already requires applicants to distinguish their variety from other known varieties and to disclose any information known to them that could be material to patentability. The USPTO representatives seemed receptive of this approach.

CIOPORA asked USPTO to support its request to open the UPOV Explanatory Note on EDV for review with the aim to apply less restrictive approach towards the issue. Both Ms Wu and Mr Hannon, who will attend the UPOV October meetings, promised to consider this matter.

CIOPORA was also interested to learn about the new, now House-passed, Farm Bill 2018, which was stalled for a while due to disagreement on SNAP program, land conservation, and commodity programs in the Congress. If passed, the new Farm Bill would open the US PVR Act for asexually reproduced ornamental and fruit varieties. Explaining the intricacies of the US legislative procedure, USPTO’s Mr Dana Robert Colarulli said that the PVP part is likely to remain in the Bill, which, according to recent reports, may still be passed after the mid-term elections on November 6 (1).

List of participants


Mr. Steve Hutton, CIOPORA President, USA

Mrs. Wendy Cashmore, CIOPORA Vice President, New Zealand

Dr. Travis Bliss, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, USA

Ms. Cynthia Mathiesen, former Driscolls Global Intellectual Properties Manager, USA

Mr. Dale Deppe, President at Spring Meadow Nursery, USA

Dr. Edgar Krieger, CIOPORA Secretary General, Germany

USPTO officials:

Mrs. Karin Ferriter (Deputy Chief Policy Officer, Office of Policy and International Affairs),

Mr. Chris Hannon (Patent Attorney in the Office of Policy & International Affairs) and

Mrs. Elaine Wu (Office of Policy and International Affairs),

Mr. Dana Robert Colarulli (Director, Office of Governmental Affairs)

(1) KEYC.com

© 2019 by CIOPORA

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