The plant: 'Pink Iceberg' rose
When rosarian Lilia Weatherly noticed a pink mutation on one of her White Iceberg rose bushes, she knew it was special. White Iceberg is the world's biggest selling rose, and there had never been mutations of it from which to develop pink and other coloured varieties.
Putting PBR in place
Several years later, she sent the mutation away to a nursery to be propagated further. However, she said, 'I knew enough to try to protect my rights in it before letting any bud wood go off my property, so I started to put plant breeder's rights in place'.
To facilitate the application process, she became a PBR Office approved non-consultant qualified person to undertake the comparative growing to establish that the variety was distinct, uniform and stable.
From PBR to business
When the initial 'acceptance' of 'Pink Iceberg' was published several nurseries approached Lilia wanting to market 'Pink Iceberg'. She established an agency relationship with one in New South Wales.
The discovery and protection of 'Pink Iceberg' rapidly transformed what was essentially a hobby into a successful hybridising business. Lilia devoted much of her time to developing new hybrids. 'Pink Iceberg' has sported to create 'Brilliant Pink Iceberg', which has, in turn, sported to 'Burgundy Iceberg'. These sports are protected under PBR too.
IP protection in other markets
Lilia also protected her IP under similar systems in South Africa, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Europe.
The system in the United States is different. There the company name, Prophyl, is trade marked and the variety is patented under a code name. Trade marking is a cheaper option but it protects only the name, not the variety.
The value of plant breeder's rights
The PBR system enabled Lilia Weatherly's family company to receive royalties on 'Pink Iceberg' for 20 years. She said: 'Without PBR protection, unscrupulous commercial propagators would have fleeced us of our new varieties and undermined our success'.
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