FAQ ON TRADEMARK PROTECTION IN THE HORTICULTURAL SECTOR
Here you will find the answers to frequently asked questions on trademark protection in the horticultural sector. Can’t find the answer to your question? Or do you want advice tailored to your specific situation? Then please contact one of our horticultural experts.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VARIETY DENOMINATION AND A TRADEMARK?
A variety denomination distinguishes new and unique varieties from varieties that already exist for a particular species. The variety denomination must be used when trading propagating materials such as seeds, cuts, bulbs, tubers and rhizomes, even if the new variety is not (or no longer) covered by any plant breeder’s rights. In other words, variety names are never exclusive.
Trademarks are specific to the products of the plant breeder who registered the trademark. Using a trademark enables you to set yourself apart from other breeders, even if you market the same variety. Used as a specification of origin or quality, trademarks can be used for any number of varieties of the same, or even another, species. Alternatively, you can use different trademarks for the same variety. Trademarks may only be used by their owners, or with the latter’s consent. And that means you can claim the exclusive right to a trademark! In principle, trademark rights can apply indefinitely.
I HAVE ALREADY APPLIED FOR A PLANT BREEDER’S RIGHT, WHY WOULD I NEED A TRADEMARK?
Plant breeder’s rights grant their owners the monopoly on trading propagation materials of new varieties, but do not protect the tradename of that variety. So if you have come up with a brilliant name that you don’t want to share with others, or if you plan to market a product range under that name, then remember to register the tradename as a trademark. Then select a name for the variety denomination that has less commercial appeal.
CAN KNIJFF HELP ME PICK A GOOD VARIETY DENOMINATION, TRADENAME OR TRADEMARK?
Yes, we can. We can start by doing a search to establish if a particular variety denomination or tradename/mark is still available. For this we will check both the trademarks register and the variety denomination register. If you need our help in deciding on the right strategy, we will be happy to make an appointment with you to go over the various options.
A COMPETITOR IS USING A NAME THAT RESEMBLES MY VARIETY TRADENAME. IS THERE SOMETHING I CAN DO?
Whether or not you can take action defending your variety tradename depends on the actual situation. A variety tradename does not give you a right or monopoly to that name. However, if you have registered the variety tradename as a trademark, chances are that you can defend it. Contact one of our specialist attorneys for more information about the various options.