New Alliance Aims to Further Understanding of IP Protection

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Today, Sept. 28, seed companies, laboratories, law firms and industry associations have officially launched the formation of the Seed Innovation and Protection Alliance (SIPA) — designed to create a unified and consistent voice for education and best practices around intellectual property (IP) protection and its value to society.

“SIPA was created to provide a harmonious and united voice from the seed industry on the benefits of innovation, why we as an industry need to continue to invest and drive innovation as well as respect intellectual property protection,” says SIPA’s executive director, James Weatherly, noting that the alliance also serves as a resource for questions or concerns around IP compliance.

Weatherly explains that SIPA will strive to communicate:

  • The value of seed innovations.
  • The need for on-going investments in seed research and improvement.
  • The importance of protecting new discoveries.

SIPA is working to develop educational materials for outreach to seed companies, public and private researchers and others, as well as best practices for breeders to consider when evaluating intellectual property rights needs. In fulfilling its mission, SIPA will conduct educational workshops designed for those in leadership positions, sales and marketing, and research and development personnel.  Two such workshops are scheduled this year — Oct. 1 in Monterey, California, and Dec. 8 in Chicago, Illinois.

Upcoming Workshops

On Oct. 1, SIPA will hold a technical education unit in conjunction with the California Seed Association’s Mid Year meeting. This unit will include sessions on the America Invents Act, limited use agreements and patent and plant variety protection labeling, including shrink-wrap licenses and issues related thereto in the United States and Europe. Participants will also hear an update from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on economic espionage in the vegetable seed industry.

Then, on Dec. 8, SIPA will hold another technical educational unit in conjunction with the American Seed Trade Association’s annual Corn, Sorghum and Soybean Seed Research Conference. This unit will focus on the identification of intellectual property, procuring protection of intellectual property and the maintenance of intellectual property protection.

“Seed innovation is necessary to help address many of the economic, environmental and health challenges our global society faces,” says Ton Van der Velden, SIPA chairman. “It is extremely important that the agricultural community is able to continue to reinvest in new and better seeds so that we can help meet those challenges. Just like new technologies … associated with other industries — from music to medicine to consumer electronics — that are often protected by intellectual property rights, it is essential that seed companies are supported by intellectual property rights.”

SIPA welcomes membership from across the seed and agricultural industry, including but not limited to, seed companies, growers, producers, authorized dealers, brokers, suppliers, service providers, universities, as well as state and federal agencies.

SIPA’s membership includes the American Seed Trade Association, American Takii, Anti-Infringement Bureau, Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies, Bayer CropScience, Bejo Seeds, Inc., California Leafy Greens Research Board, Cochran Freund & Young, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Cotton Incorporated, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, Enza Zaden USA, Inc., Germains, HM.CLAUSE, Husch Blackwell, Independent Professional Seed Association, Limagrain Cereal Seeds, Monsanto, Morrison Foerster, Rijk Zwaan USA, Sakata Seed America, Seminis Vegetable Seed, Shamrock Seeds, Swanson & Bratshun, and Thompson Coburn.

For more information, visit www.seedipalliance.com.

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