Houseplant patent EULA: "Asexual reproduction using scions, buds or cutting is strictly prohibited"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/05/houseplant-patent-eula-asex.html

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A plant is gonna do whatever it wants…

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Only if you consider 1930 to be late.

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So, if the plant tries to reproduce, we are supposed to murder it’s babies?

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Has anybody informed the right-to-lifers?

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This stupidity guarantees that guerrilla gardeners will be surreptitiously gathering cuttings of this thing at every garden center, and then sharing the scions far and wide.
Every gardener I’ve ever known has had a fierce hatred of being told what to do by The Man, including myself.
What plant is this and where might I find it? :sunglasses:

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Years ago, I bought some kind of decorative shrub from The Home Depot. The label that was stuck into the soil around the base of the plant also had a warning that the plant was protected (maybe it was a patent, I don’t remember) and thus I, the new owner of the plant, was not allowed to propagate it in any way.

Incensed, I called the customer support line for THD and reached some guy who sounded like he was in some south Asian region, and I let him know that I didn’t agree with it and they should stop such nonsense. I don’t believe that he understood my point, and I also don’t believe that my objection made its way back to Atlanta, HQ of THD.

Related to EULAs and TOUs, I recently tried to opt out of the arbitration and class action prohibition found in the TOU for Flickr/Smugmug. I crafted, printed and mailed my opt out notice. Few days later, I got a message from their customer support saying that they got my request to delete my account. We went back and forth a bit, and finally, she said there is no opt out. Take it or leave it (though she was very nice about it). After mulling it over a while, I let them know that after ten years, most of which were paid, I had to opt out the only way they would ‘allow me’.

Stupid Terms of Use and the lawyers behind them. And the execs that allow it.

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It seems like legal weed is where this type of shit is going to get thornier.

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I’d like to see them try to stop me, because…

Also interesting question. Do these patents assert ownership over an organisms ability to live and will to procreate?

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Was going to suggest that I’ve seen this verbiage on roses for years.

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…and this is how we wind up with kids growing illegally asexually reproduced roses in their closets.

So what government arm enforces patents and when can we expect them to start kicking in doors to catch these dangerous gardeners with no respect for the law! /srcsm

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They can have my irises when they pry my cold, dead fingers from the rhizomes :exclamation:

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EULA is not the right term. There is an implied license to use something patented when it is legit sold to you regardless (but not a license to copy). What the tag is there for is to remind you that the plant is patented. Won’t mean much to you, but it likely puts commercial nurseries on notice. And that would open the door to willful infringement and treble damages.

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I’ve purchased plenty of plants that said “Patented: Do not propagate.” Sorry, I cannot stop a plant from spreading its roots and shoots. I have a fertile patch of property.

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Apparently you’ve never dealt with orchids.

Growers can spend decades hybridizing flowers before arriving at a truly spectacular grex. Most orchids take between 3-10 years to mature to blooming size, so each generation is a slow process. At each generation the plants are flasked, culled, com-potted, culled again, raised, culled, bloomed, culled, and if there’s anything good left, it’s crossed with another plant and the seed pod harvested. Any foreign sourced plants must go through an expensive CITES paperwork trail to ensure an endangered species hasn’t been unsustainably stolen from the wild. All the while they’re growing, they need watering, fertilizing, heat, cooling, and light, and each pot takes another precious chunk out of your finite greenhouse space. It’s a crazy amount of time, effort, and money.

I forgot to mention that you’ll probably hire a geneticist to help plan the breeding program (at the going rate for PhDs, of course.) And if you don’t want to be thrown out by the bank, you have to spend time selling enough plants and flowers to pay the bills. And oh yeah, you still have to bring your flowers to shows for judging - the plants are only valuable if they’ve been awarded.

Once they get that award winner, they’ll ship it to Asian greenhouse operators, who can grow acres of pots at once, and it will literally be cloned millions of times. Think of all the orchids you see at Home Depot or Trader Joe’s - that’s where they come from. It’s a multi-million dollar industry that all starts with a well-tended weed.

Obviously this is all a labor of love, but a grower still needs to make enough money to survive. Selling the breeding rights to awarded plants is a nice way to bank some coin without raising plant prices to your local customers.

This law helps the grower legally defend against predatory factory farms from making a million copies. Nobody’s going to care if you divide the plant with a knife and share half with your mom.

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No. The law only prohibits asexual reproduction, primarily meristem cloning. The law doesn’t prohibit sexual reproduction, so you’re free to pollinate it with whatever you want and derive your own hybrids from it.

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Should’ve clarified (though i do appreciate your response :slight_smile: ). My question was more me generally musing if a patent asserts ownership of an organism what that relationship between them and the patent holder might be.

Taken to the logical extreme i was thinking about humans with patented genes and corporations asserting ownership over them. Or like someone’s pet having patented genes so you don’t really own your pet, a corp would assert a right over it.

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They can have my irises when they take my corneas, though I don’t think they can be transplanted so much good it may do them.

Donate life, don’t patent it!

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And if I use gibberellic acid to induce seed germination, I am sexually reproducing the plant and sexual plant reproduction isn’t covered by plant patents AFAIK. Sexually reproduced plants are covered under the Plant Variety Protection Act

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