Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need to use the ® or ™ when referencing a plant name that is trademarked?

Any time a trademarked plant is mentioned, in print or online, the name of the plant should include either the ® symbol, for plants with registered trademarks, or the ™ symbol for plants with unregistered trademarks. A plant’s trademarked name is distinct and separate from its cultivar name and from its botanical name, so both the trademark and the cultivar name should be used in conjunction with the plant.

Example: Apricot Drift® Rose PP23,354/ Rosa ‘Meimirrote’
(trademarked name / scientific (or botanical) name and ‘cultivar’

The ™ or ® symbols can be used throughout all printed and digital material, but at a minimum these symbols must be included at the first and/or most prominent use of the mark.

Which part of the plant name typically is denoted with single quotes (‘)?

Single quotation marks indicate the specific cultivar of a plant. A cultivar is a plant variety that has been produced by selective breeding.

Example: ‘Berlin Rabe’ is the name of the cultivar in the patented and trademarked plant name:
Bigleaf Hydrangea Cityline® Berlin PP10,912
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Berlin Rabe’

 

Can cultivar names also be trademarked?

No. A trademark on a plant protects only the plant’s name, not the plant cultivar itself. Another person could propagate a trademarked plant, but not call it the same variety name. An example of trademarked varieties include the Endless Summer hydrangeas.    

Where can I search for plant patents or patented plant names?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains a database of all patents and trademarks. The USPTO website, www.uspto.gov, offers tutorials on how to search for patents, registered trademarks and applications for both.

You may also use the Google Advanced Search for patents: https://www.google.com/advanced_patent_search Be sure to change the Patent Type/Status dropdown to Plant (PP).