Summary

Hahn Loeser has particular strength in intellectual property rights relating to plants, agriculture and agricultural equipment.  With degrees in botany, plant genetics, cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, and chemical, electrical, mechanical and materials engineering; lab, field, and greenhouse experience in plant physiology, genetics, and transgenic plants; and experience in complex licensing, commercialization, and enforcement issues, our team is capable of speaking the language of and solving problems for our clients whether they are Ph.D. plant breeders, agricultural equipment manufacturers, entrepreneurs, growers, farmers, or university licensing managers.

Our attorneys and patent agents have over 20 years of experience working with agriculture companies, universities, and plant breeders to protect and commercialize their agricultural and plant-variety inventions.  Our team has obtained plant patents and plant variety registrations in the United States, Europe, and over 20 other countries around the world.  In addition to our expertise in obtaining plant patents and plant breeders’ rights, our team has also helped clients solve difficult problems relating to licensing and enforcement in numerous foreign countries, where each commercial opportunity, licensee relationship, and legal system presents new challenges.  We have worked with leading breeders and growers of crops as diverse as table grapes, stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots), blueberries and other berries, flowers, and turfgrasses.

We also have assisted clients with plant and agriculture-related utility patents ranging from agricultural equipment such as hay balers and weed control devices to disease screening technologies for dairy herds, new methods of transforming commercially important plant species, specific high-value crops, aquaculture, and contained-environment growing of plants and algae for production of energy and/or valuable natural products.

With long-standing contacts in the plant-patent examination unit in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as well as in numerous foreign countries, our plant group is ready to assist with IP protection of marijuana strains in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions.

EXEMPLARY EXPERIENCE

Represented major farm equipment manufacturer in patent infringement litigation involving open-throated balers for producing round hay bales.  Following a jury trial, our client was awarded a multi-million dollar verdict.  The case settled while on appeal. 

Worked with a leading breeder and producer of grapes and stone fruits to enter new markets with no history of adequate protection or enforcement of plant-related IP.  Coordinating with our network of foreign associates across the globe, we developed country-by-country strategies for licensing, protection of both intellectual and tangible property, and enforcement against infringers.

Prepared and filed over 60 plant patent applications for different varieties of Chrysanthemum under very limited time  constraints in support of a business under pressure to establish itself quickly and efficiently. Worked with plant patent examiners to streamline the process to allowance of multiple varieties presenting the same issues.

Assisted a major manufacturing company in its first effort to launch a product whose chief ingredient was a portion of a transgenic plant.  The plant product faced numerous issues of third-party patent rights. Our team negotiated licenses from several different licensors and prepared opinions of invalidity and/or non-infringement as to other patents relevant to the plant product, ultimately permitting successful market entry of the product with no interfering litigation.

Worked with a leading university and the leading private company in the area of blueberry breeding and production of propriety varieties in IP protection, commercialization, and licensing strategies.

Prepared patent applications as the foundation of a company using algae to produce clean energy.  Patent applications were able to provide protection and maintain investor interest even after market changes forced the company to change its business and products from a focus on energy to a focus on other products and other (non-algal) species.

Prepared and successfully prosecuted patent applications in the area of processing of biofuels produced from plants, permitting single-step modifications of biomolecules into a useful fuel source.

Prepared and prosecuted utility patent applications for the first stable plant extrachromosomal elements that can be used to greatly speed up the process of developing new plant breeds.

Capabilities Within Our Practice