What to Know Before You Save Seed

September 19, 2012 11:33 PM

RR1 goes off patent in 2015, but other patents in the seed could prevent you from brown bagging.

Randy Schlatter, senior manager for DuPont Pioneer’s intellectual property program office, says he knows there is a lot of confusion among farmers about RR1 going off patent.

But, he says, for Pioneer customers, the story is simple: brown-bagging is a not a legal option.

"We want to make sure our producers understand is that just because that roundup trait is off patent, doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable to brown bag or bin run Pioneer products."

He says more than 225 patents cover Pioneer’s soybean line-up, and these patents cover breeding technologies, native traits and varieties.

By informing soybean growers now about its intent to protect its patents, Schlatter expects the RR1 trait expiration to be a "non-event" for U.S. growers. That was the case for soybean growers in Canada who faced the same scenario last year.

"Once we explained to Canadian growers why we wouldn’t allow them to brown bag our varieties, it (patent expiration) was a non-issue," he says.

Schlatter says the revenue derived from patented seed products enables the company to reinvest those dollars in the research and development of new products. In 2011, DuPont invested $930 million in research and development efforts in nutrition and agriculture, including corn and soybean seed research. Part of that investment was used to triple the company’s plant breeding programs in the past five years from eight to 25.

Schlatter describes the reasons behind patents and the advantages of purchasing new seed every year:


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