Plant Germplasm Intellectual Property and Licensing

Under the direction of the UF/IFAS Dean of Research and the Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station (FAES), the Plant Germplasm Intellectual Property and Licensing Office supports the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) plant breeders in evaluating and releasing new plant cultivars.

UF/IFAS plant breeders create varieties and germplasm with new and superior characteristics. In certain instances, subsequent field evaluations are conducted by industry cooperators under trial agreements to assess traits such as yield, quality, disease resistance, environmental adaptability, and time to maturity.

A materials transfer agreement (MTA) is the most common trial agreement, and occasionally, collaborative research agreements or sponsored research agreements are also used. The germplasm office participates in developing and processing various trial agreements with the primary responsibility of negotiating and managing MTAs.

When a plant line shows potential to make a significant contribution, per UF/IFAS policy, plant candidates for release must first be submitted to a departmental cultivar release advisory committee (CRAC). Departmental CRACs consists of nine voting members that are organized as needed to a conduct rigorous scientific review of the proposed line. The CRAC submits its recommendation to the FAES Director, who has final responsibility for granting approval for release. The germplasm office works to ensure proper documentation and reviews are completed before a plant line is presented for release approval.

New plant cultivars may be publicly released or assigned to Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP), for intellectual property protection and commercialization. FFSP is a non-profit corporation and direct support organization of the University of Florida.

The Plant Germplasm Intellectual Property and Licensing Office works together with FFSP, UF’s Office of Technology Licensing, UF’s Office of General Counsel, and UF’s Division of Sponsored Research to promote and facilitate germplasm research and release new cultivars to aid global food security and better human lives.

Currently, more than 30 UF/IFAS researchers are actively engaged in breeding 21 different species with licenses in 52 countries. Over the past 10 years, UF/IFAS has released an average of 30 cultivars annually. The collaboration with public organizations and Florida’s agricultural industries has been strong, manifested by steadily growing demand in MTA requests.

More Information

Click the image below to browse the 2017 Plant Breeding & Variety Development Overview document.6.19.2017 v2

Contact Information

John Beuttenmuller, Executive Director | 352-392-9446

John Watson, Licensing Associate | 352-273-3656 

Jim Holm, Licensing Associate | 352-273-2262

Related Links

UF/IFAS MTA Request Form (requires UF Login)
UF/IFAS Plant Breeders Workgroup
Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP): A UF Direct Support Organization (DSO)
Review of the UF/IFAS and FFSP Processes for Intellectual Property Management, Cultivar release, and Licensing
UF/IFAS Internal Management Memorandum (IMM): Policy Governing Release, Protection & Introduction of Plant Material