Sunday, November 04, 2007

Plant Patents & Canadian Pears

Plant patents rarely make the news, so I was delighted to see a story in this weekend's Globe and Mail about a new type of pear cultivated by a team of Canadian scientists. The pear, which is known only by the designation "HW614", is a cross between several types of pears including the familiar Bartletts. It's described as juicy, sweet and huge, "up to four inches in diameter". Presumably Agriculture Canada will come up with a catchier name by the time the pear is ready for market in several years.

David Hunter, one of the scientists responsible for creating the new pear, holds three plant patents on pears identified as "HW610" (marketed as "Harrow Crisp"), "HW616" (marketed as "Harrow Gold") and "Harrow Sweet", but none for "HW614". Perhaps a application is in the works. Most of the research on pears is done at the University of Guelph's Vineland research station, near St. Catherines, Ontario.

The patent classification for pears is PLT/176 with subclasses for Ornamental (PLT/177), Asian (PLT/178) and Rootstock (PLT/179). Since 1930 the USPTO has issued approximately 80 patents for pears.