What is the difference between a public release and a patented peach cultivar?

Answer: Breeding to develop new peach cultivars may be done by private individuals, companies, government organizations or even universities.  When a new cultivar (cultivated variety) is developed and made freely available to be propagated without restriction to the public, this is called a public release.  In years past, many public university or government (i.e., USDA-ARS) programs publicly released new cultivars.  Currently, private breeders and an ever increasing number of public breeders are seeking to protect their intellectual property (new cultivars) through the filing of a plant patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  If a patent is awarded, the cultivar is protected for 20 years and the patent recipient can receive royalty payments for the sale of budwood, trees, etc.  Propagation of trees may be restricted to licensed nurseries.

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