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Dahlia Patents?

I’m confused. I thought that plant patents couldnt be obtained for plants that reproduce by tubers. It’s pretty clear. But then I saw a lovely dahlia that had a patent! Does that prohibit the dividing of the tubers? Or just propagation from cuttings or other methods? Anyone know?

Comments (3)
  • linaria_gw

    There are cultivars like the Karma-series that have some kind of trademark. Not sure about the finer legal points. I guess the breeder want to get more financial gain from their breeding success.


    For roses it exists as well, and again, there you wont get into trouble, if you filch some scion/ grafting material for use in your garden,

    with roses it was mostly to make sure that breeders get some financial gain after a new cultivar has been released



    I think, as long as you just grow them for yourself, you are on the safe side.

    probably not pass them on via trades, internet-sales etc.




  • Dillybeansown (6b in the Ozarks)

    Thank you. I am familiar with plant patents in general, and I try to respect them. I have quite a few patented roses, salvias, and other plants which I don’t propagate event for home use.

    I was confused by the apparent discontinuity between the stated law (below), and the fact that dahlias are a tuberous plant.

    “A plant patent is granted by the United States government to an inventor (or the inventor's heirs or assigns) who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.”

    I did notice that quite a few patented dahlias come from Europe, mainly Holland, so perhaps European patents have a different standard? And that brings up the question of which standard applies here in the US...

  • cicivacation

    Yes, technically you can only keep ONE patented tuber for yourself to grow the following year, but must dispose of all others.

    I believe the European and Australian patents would have to be submitted to our patent office to be enforced here in the US, though the big distributors tend to respect them regardless. Lots of the bedding dahlias (short varieties grown primarily by greenhouses) have patents on them, as they are sold as annuals. The general gardener has no clue that they could successfully overwinter the tubers, much less divide them to make more plants the following year.

    It was a well-known fact that the Karma patent-holder used to send cease-&-desist legal notices to US growers that did not pay him royalty for selling his varieties, though that seems to not be the case today. He might not be around anymore, but he had been very vocal about his rights, backed up by a lawyer 'back in the day,' As a matter of respect, I do not grow any of the Karma varieties, or ANY patented variety, as it is not worth it since there are so many nicer varieties out there that don't have such restrictions. Not a personal fan of the Karmas, or of the bedding varieties.

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