SIPA Celebrates 4 Years of Success, Best is Yet to Come

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James Weatherly serves as the Seed Innovation and Protection Alliance executive director.

Corinne Marshall is the recently installed SIPA program board chair.

Four years ago, 11 founding member companies met at the American Seed Trade Association’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, to lay the foundation of a new industry organization, the Seed Innovation and Protection Alliance (SIPA). The companies met with the collective goal of creating a unified and consistent voice for education and best practices around seed innovations, intellectual property (IP) protection and its value to our industry and to consumers. Looking back over the past four years, SIPA has had several key accomplishments

In 2014, SIPA developed its guiding principles, membership structure and the mission of the program: to help the seed industry understand the value of seed innovations and provide the resources for organizations to protect their innovations, all while helping to reduce compliance issues in the industry.

The success continued to build in 2016-17, when SIPA developed and introduced its IP Best Practices Checklist. The IP Best Practices Checklist was developed to help organizations identify new innovations, protect those innovations, maintain that protection and if necessary enforce that protection.

SIPA also published its first educational materials related to the innovations that are found in leafy greens and soybeans. Since that time, we’ve developed additional materials around the IP found in vegetables, soybeans and wheat, as well as materials to help farmers increase farm profits. Additionally, our team launched a fact-finding program to assist members with the identification and steps toward the confirmation of potential misappropriation of seed IP.

Most recently, in 2018, SIPA launched its new website to help members more easily access available resources, and we released our first video about the SIPA program. Last, but not least, SIPA established the IP Settlement Database, developed to gather information from our members on IP issues to better understand where IP issues are taking place in the United States.

While SIPA’s first four years were extremely productive and advantageous to our members, the best is yet to come. Members can look forward to the continued development of educational materials, a greater presence of SIPA in the seed industry as well as to distributors, growers and those allied to the seed trade. SIPA is also planning to host webinars on various IP issues and topics that will be available for members to view live and/or download for future use. Members can also look forward to new services that will be available to them to help ensure compliance of IP rights.

SIPA continues to serve as a resource for questions or concerns around compliance with IP, and we strongly encourage members to take advantage of this valuable benefit.

SIPA is pleased to announce that as of July 1, Corinne Marshall, IP and licensing manager with Sakata Seed America, Inc., became our new program board chair. Corinne has been involved with the SIPA program since its inception and served as SIPA Flower & Vegetable Division Chair from 2014-16.

As she leads our now 78-member program into the next two years, it is vital that we continue our outreach and welcome members from across the seed and agricultural industries including, but not limited to, seed companies, growers, producers, distributors, brokers, suppliers, service providers and universities, as well as state and federal agencies. We look forward to welcoming new members and we look forward to meeting you and discussing how SIPA can benefit you and your organization.

As a reminder, the illegal use of seed or technology may be reported to SIPA’s tip line at 1-844-Seed-Tip.

Learn more about SIPA at www.seedipalliance.com.

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