Understand Our Business
Breeder’s Best is pioneering a new kind of Cannabis company. Doing things in new ways generates lots of questions. We hope the following are helpful to you in understanding our business.
Is it even possible to patent a plant?
Yes, it is. The Plant Patent Statute was passed in the 1930s because of the growing importance and impact of plant breeding, and the unique nature of the “inventions” created by plant breeding. Since then, it has been possible to protect new plant varieties with plant patents and/or utility patents. For more information on this topic see the following blog posts:
Why should an independent breeder with a unique variety of the Cannabis plant consider a patent?
The main reason to consider IP protection for a plant variety is that it is so easy for a single cutting or seed (from a stable seed line) to be used to create an unlimited number of copies of the unique variety. When this happens without authorization by the breeder, the potential for the breeder to enjoy sustained economic benefits from his/her work can evaporate very quickly.
While making good legal agreements with nurseries and growers is essential to the commercial success of a new plant variety, there is no such thing as perfect security. So even if your nursery partners and grow partners are trustworthy and ethical, they cannot guarantee that your genetics will never ‘escape’ into the hands of people with no ethical or legal commitments to you.
If you’d like to read more, see: Why Should I Patent a Plant?
How do I get involved with Breeder’s Best?
If you are a breeder who has a unique variety that you have developed yourself, please click here. Companies who need help sourcing genetics please click here. If you are interested in working at Breeder’s Best please check here for job openings (coming soon). And if you are interested in investing in Breeder’s Best, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do Cannabis breeders get paid by Breeder’s Best?
The short answer is that a portion of all of the profits BB receives from working with a variety will go to the breeder, as the breeder’s royalty for the exclusive license to BB. Keep reading for some details:
If we see long-term potential in a breeder’s variety, then after the initial stages of testing and evaluating that potential, we will have an option period during which BB and the breeder have time to negotiate a long term deal. While the specifics of each deal will be negotiated based upon what we learned in the initial stages, the deal will include a royalty to the breeder based upon a percentage of the profits BB receives from that variety. Those profits could come from licensing nurseries, growers, product manufacturers, or anyone else who uses that variety. A negotiated portion of all of those profits will go to the breeder.
For more on the general approach to licensing a breeder’s variety, click here. (coming soon)
For more on the initial evaluation period and the negotiation period and how that process works, click here. (coming soon)
For more on ownership of IP in the breeder’s genetics, click here. (coming soon)
How does Breeder’s Best decide which genetics to work with, and what follows that decision?
We start by reviewing each breeder’s submission(s), which you can make by clicking here. Our team of experts in Cannabis medicine, botany, legal protection, production, and marketing will combine their insights to identify the best opportunities to work with that variety. If the submitted variety looks like something we could match with a market demand or medical need, we typically contact the breeder to follow up and learn more about the variety.
Then, if the additional information from the breeder confirms the likelihood of being able to connect the genetics with an interested nursery, grower, or other party, we take steps to either put the plant into our test-grow program or offer access to the plant directly to the interested party. The details of how we handle this step depend very much upon the nature of the plant and the geography of the parties, in the interest of being in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements throughout the process.
In all cases, before anyone—whether a test-grower or some other party—takes possession of living plant material, we establish initial (one year) IP protection for the plant variety, and an appropriate legal agreement to clearly establish the rights and obligations of all parties. If we put something into test-growing, we will also have an option for commercial production, but our rights to commercial production will have limited duration. That limited option period is intended to give BB and the breeder time to negotiate a long-term license without either side being under serious time pressures that could cloud their judgment or affect their decisions.
If we exercise our option to put the variety into commercial production, we will also file for full IP protection on the variety in the US and/or the country where the commercial production will occur. If we don’t exercise our option, we will waive that right far enough ahead of the expiration of the initial IP to permit the breeder to explore alternatives for full IP protection with another licensee, or with an investor, or at his/her own expense. In any case, the IP protection will be owned by the breeder, even in the case of a long-term license to BB.
However, the long-term license to BB will be conditioned on our meeting performance goals in handling the variety. Any parties receiving the plant material will do so under a limited sublicense from BB. The agreement with the sublicensee will specify royalties that will be paid to BB based upon various ways of measuring the value of the sublicensee’s use of the variety. BB will in turn pay a share of those royalties to the breeder as the owner of the IP and the licensor of the rights.
This approach can involve several stages of progression from a limited test-grow license to a full-scale commercial production license, as well as progression from initial IP protection to full IP protection in the US and any other countries where commercialization may occur. The approach also involves numerous variations to adapt the legal agreements to local conditions and requirements, based upon the country/state where the production occurs.
In order for a breeder to be able to enjoy the benefits of having his/her variety reach people all over the world while maintaining control over the rights to the genetics, there must be a highly sophisticated execution of both IP strategies and the related agreements. We are proud our team’s decades of legal experience in international plant IP and licensing, which makes this highly complex and sophisticated approach available to breeders who work with BB. The exclusive legal expertise and IP protection is fully paid for by BB, not by the breeder. We are unaware of any other company that offers all of this to independent Cannabis breeders.
Who owns the patent on the Cannabis variety I developed?
While BB pays for the IP protection and all of the legal support to bring the variety to people and markets worldwide, in our model the breeder owns the IP, while BB acts as the exclusive licensee. Our exclusive license is conditioned on meeting negotiated performance goals. If we don’t meet those goals, we lose our exclusivity. And if we fall far below the performance goals, we lose our license. In this way, the breeder will either enjoy the benefits of the relationship with BB or will have options to explore other approaches to licensing the IP.
What happens if I (the breeder) am not satisfied with how Breeder’s Best has marketed my variety?
As part of establishing a long-term relationship with BB, we will negotiate performance goals in the form of a minimum annual royalty (MAR). If we ever fail to pay the MAR to the breeder, our license to the IP goes from being exclusive to non-exclusive. In that situation, we can still work on bringing commercial benefits to the breeder, but the breeder can also offer licenses to other parties. In addition, if we ever fall below a pre-negotiated threshold defined as a percentage of the MAR, the breeder can cancel the license completely. Throughout all this time, the breeder owns the IP.
In what regions of the world are Breeder’s Best genetics available?
We will operate anywhere in the world that the current regulatory, legal, and IP situations permit. We will accept online (non-plant-touching) submissions from breeders anywhere in the world, and likewise will entertain license requests from interested parties anywhere in the world. Our ability to take action based upon these submissions and license requests will be based upon our assessment of the legality and feasibility of doing so, which may change over time as regulatory requirements and legal prohibitions evolve.
If my company is in search of new genetics how can Breeder’s Best help me?
Whatever kind of Cannabis genetics you are looking for, chances are good that something already submitted to us will match your needs. Even if that is not the case, under the right circumstances we will issue a ‘Request for Genetics’ to our network of breeders and colleagues in the Cannabis industry, and relevant submissions are very likely to follow. As the leader in Cannabis licensing with the most diverse network of independent breeders, we are confident that we can identify available genetics, or promote intentional breeding, to meet your needs.