To be offered patent protection, a seed variety must not have been sold in the U.S. for longer than a year, or elsewhere for longer than four years. The variety must also reproduce reliably and be distinct.
In many of the seed catalogs arriving soon in mailboxes, the headliners will be grafted vegetables, in which one or more different varieties grow from a single rootstock. Tomatoes seem to be the grafted transplants most frequently offered, providing greater disease tolerance, bigger harvests…
Right now, farmers have to buy new hybrid seeds each year to ensure that each season's harvest is as vigorous as the last. But a new method of cloning seeds holds the potential to change all that.
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