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New Publication Helps Plant Breeders Keep Genetic Resources in Public Domain

Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) and Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) have released a new free resource for plant breeders, entitled A Breed Apart: The Plant Breeder’s Guide to Preventing Patents through Defensive Publication. The guide outlines practices for plant breeders to keep genetic resources in the public domain. It explains how a printed publication that establishes a plant variety as “prior art” renders that variety ineligible for a patent in the future. “This guide is essential for anyone in the plant world trying to prevent plant genetic material from being co-opted—or simply trying to navigate the laws and regulations surrounding intellectual property,” said James Myers, a plant breeder at Oregon State University.