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Legal Protection of New Plant Varieties: Lamiaceae Patent Cases Based on International Patent Classification
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1  Chemical Science and Engineering Research Team (ERSIC), Department of Chemistry, Polydisciplinary Faculty of Beni Mellal (FPBM), Sultan Moulay Slimane University (USMS), P.O. Box 592 Mghila, Beni Mellal 23000, Morocco
Academic Editor: Maria Martínez Mena

Published: 11 March 2024 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Poster Session.

The principal goal of sustainable agricultural development is to ensure food production to meet the needs of an ever-growing world population. However, agriculture faces multiple challenges, including climate change, energy supply, and the scarcity of arable land. These facts show the relevance of encouraging innovation in agriculture, especially that directly related to the development and selection of plant varieties expressing traits of interest. The protection of researchers' intellectual property by a plant variety certificate or patent is highly relevant in this context. The United States, followed by some other jurisdictions, has even introduced a plant patent, which, like patents, grants a 20-year monopoly of exploitation, especially to breeders who have invented or asexually discovered and reproduced a distinct and novel plant variety. In addition, the patent system incorporates several classifications specific to plant production, and since 2018, a particular classification has concerned new plants or processes to obtain and reproduce them by tissue culture techniques.

This study aims to analyze patents relating to new plant varieties of Lamiaceae, a plant family recognized for the interest of these genera in the medicinal and aromatic fields. The study also seeks to identify the genera and species most exploited in innovative applications. To identify the latest trends in this area, we systematically reviewed patents concentrating on new varieties of Lamiaceae. The relevant patents were identified in various specialized databases using the International Patent Classification.

The essential objective claimed by the patents studied is ornamental (71% of the documents); this is essentially the case of plant patents. The other granted patents claimed innovations in genetic engineering (13%) or plant breeding (6%) that seek a better yield of proteins or other compounds of interest. The rest of the patents claimed plants that are more tolerant of climate effects (5%), plants resistant to powdery mildew (3%), and suitable substrates for the cultivation of certain Lamiaceae species (1%).

Keywords: Plant; Lamiaceae; legal protection; patent