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Steep Hill Genetics | Understanding Phenosight™

Steep Hill uses a unique combination of chemical and genetic tests to help identify qualities before you plant. Using our suite of analytics, we can help growers find top phenotypes. We sex test seedlings as early as the second leaf set to determine if it’s a male; we assess whether seedlings have any unique genetic markers and then use an HPLC to determine THC/CBD ratio. Once the flowers are developed we can test to determine optimum harvest time and then test matured flowers for potency once curing is complete.

Are you currently developing new and unique strains? Are you worried about unauthorized use and distribution of the genetic stock you spent years developing and perfecting? Are you interested in finding ways to protect the strains you’ve developed as intellectual property that gives you exclusive rights to your strain? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then Steep Hill can help you start by providing you with the unique genetic information specific to your new strain that can be part of a plant patent application. Steep Hill lab is opening up its genetic analysis program to those growers and breeders who are currently developing or have newly developed, and not yet publicly available strains. The genetic information available from Steep Hill’s assorted genetic analysis tools can help build strong plant or utility patent applications.


The genetic information available from Steep Hill’s assorted genetic analysis tools can help build strong plant or utility patent applications.

Why Patent? To keep your uniquely bred strains yours when the political and, thus ultimately, business climate change, and your hard work is suddenly making someone else a ton of money. That someone might be the likes of BIG AG, BIG TOBACCO, or BIG PHARM. The reality is that all strains currently publicly sold are fair game when Cannabis becomes Schedule 2. Dow Ag, Monsanto, Scotts, etc, they all get to use those clones for free. They buy a few of each, do what they do, then they don’t even need to buy the clones. And then they will make new strains themselves, so why not get a head start and use some of the same tools they will be using. And then start patenting those new stable interesting phenotypes. Make it more difficult for them to get ahead. That’s why you patent. What is a Utility Patent? What is a plant patent? Is a Plant Variety Protection Certificate a patent? What rights or protection is afforded by the various documents? How do you go about applying for a patent on a plant? What information is required to support a patent on a plant? Has anyone already applied for patents related to cannabis? The information provided below is borrowed from various portions of the United States Patent Office website, as well as other online resources (e.g., Perennial Patent Co, Citizen.org). A summary of the differences between the types of intellectual property protection available for plants is given first, followed by more detailed description of the different types.

Grow It. Love it. Protect it.

In summary, PVP Certificates and Utility Patents apply to sexually reproduced plants whereas Plant Patents apply to asexually reproduced plants.  PVP Certificates are much less expensive than Utility Patents however they provide much less protection for the breeder and only last for 18 years as opposed to the 20 year statute for patents.  While there is some overlap between the types of protection available for certain plants, where possible protection for both the asexually propagated stable plant and the stable parents that produced the F1 and thus that trio of plants (parents and F1 having a stably reproduced phenotype) should be the subject matter of both types of patent protection. Utility Patents are more common for hybridized and engineered seed crops (namely commodity crops, of which Cannabis could be considered one) whereas Plant Patents are the predominant choice for ornamental turf and plant varieties that are propagated by cutting or buds.