Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

A meeting place for rose breeders.
david zlesak
Posts: 411
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:27 pm

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71012Post david zlesak
Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:17 am

This rose is sure beautiful. I saw some plants this past summer. Petite Knock Out is introduced at Zepeti (means the small) in Europe ... -of-roses/

With Europe regulating CRSPR editing as GMO's and this new rose introduced in Europe, it shouldn't be a GMO.

In some of the utility patents I've seen, it is common for people to spell out all the possible ways the patent can be violated. All the extensive talk about tissue culture, editing, transformation, sports, etc. I suspect is just a way to spell out every way someone can take the baseline of the genotype of Petite Knock Out and try to add to it and come up with a new cultivar. So sexually (using it in crosses) or asexually (mutating it in one of many ways) is something they want to prevent and spell out.

This is just an inclination. It likely is a very difficult kind of appearance this rose possesses to replicate in crosses with Double Knock Out and miniatures. So with this very unique rose investing in a utility patent will help preserve the use of it as a parent only by them for the 20 year timeframe of the patent. If it was common to get roses that looked like this from crossing roses that are freely available to use in breeding, they likely wouldn't invest in the utility patent based solely on this one genotype.

Posts: 5132
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:54 pm
Location: Zone 9b Central California, Sunset Zone 15

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71013Post roseseek
Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:07 pm

Thank you, Don! Might you please fix the link to the patent you found?
California Central Coast
USDA Zone 9b
Sunset Zone 15
Cooler inland coastal valley with strong marine influence

Posts: 1885
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71014Post Don
Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:23 pm

Thanks Kim, fixed the link. It is the one Stephan found, above.
What doesn't kill them makes them stronger.

Posts: 5132
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:54 pm
Location: Zone 9b Central California, Sunset Zone 15

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71015Post roseseek
Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:11 pm

Thank you!
California Central Coast
USDA Zone 9b
Sunset Zone 15
Cooler inland coastal valley with strong marine influence

Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:01 pm
Location: Seattle, USDA-8b, Sunset-5

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71018Post sarahconeill
Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:16 pm

It’s funny Don mentioned educational tool because I did read it as that and as a result will probably be signing up for an online patent class. Just how many embodiments can you have?
Really though, how does one argue a patent pending? Is there a public comment period? Also, is there a precedent for an ornamental plant to have a utility patent?
I don’t want my future work to be infringed upon.
While online research on this subject is geared toward pollen drift for farmers, there might be some useful applications of law. Could this be considered patent misuse?

Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:26 pm

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71020Post vaporvac
Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:25 pm

I also couldn't get over the scope of restrictions.... even sports were covered! I didn't read anywhere that the rose in question used CRISPR technology, but it also didn't specify anything about the 'un-named' seedling.

Larry Davis
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:37 pm
Location: Kansas

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71021Post Larry Davis
Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:13 pm

An important point that Don mentioned is "practitioner of the art". He also noted that such a person might not be able to reproduce the work based no the process patent. But my take on patents is that if it is obvious to practitioners of the art, it is not patentable under a regular patent. A patent requires novelty that is not obvious. If we collectively understand the power of CRISPR as a tool to modify genes by insertion, deletion and replacement, and the use of Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) using SNPs and other genetic markers, then we can say that what they did is nothing very special, just perhaps a lot of selection work. I presume that the big deal is that one way or a other they stacked in a lot of good traits including some disease resistances, desirable growth habit, excellent flower form, color, durability and so on. Maybe this process patent is a trial balloon for what Ball intends to do with the rose market when they get something novel such as resistance to RRD. For all I know, that may be what is special.

A sport is a trivial change in the rose, easily made by CRISPR technology and undetectable by standard molecular genetic tools. So I would want to claim it too, so that someone couldn't engineer a pink or purple/black form and claim it as a sport.

The developers of CRISPR, and many other genetic engineers have tied themselves in knots in what is called the patent thicket. It gets so complicated that no one can figure out who owes what to whom in the way of royalties, permissions, licenses, and so on. This significantly drags down the market so that some country without many scruples can steal you into bankruptcy.

With the cheapness of GWAS markers and ways to detect them, the haplotype of a particular rose will be unique, even if Double KO is one parent and Rainbow KO is the other. BTW, RKO throws relatively a lot of minis in its rare selfs pool. I have half a dozen yellow/orange ones that I selected for good appearance relatively speaking. Rob Byrnes used one to make something that he registered I think.

The haplotype depends on the crossing over of chromosomes, so that any one chromosome becomes a mix of the parental ones, not seven of this and seven of that. Linkage doesn't reach along a very big part of most chromosomes. Their lengths are measured in centiMorgans and 50 cM is a 50 % chance of a crossover happening between two genes. So a chromosome l00 cM long probably has 2 crossovers, or 1 or 0, or 3 or 4. That means in the next generation only only a fraction of what goes into an ovum or pollen grain is like the previous generation, if the chromosome pair was from two rather different parents. (Rather different is a relative term, for humans we can see minute bits that indicate that generations back we had an ancestor from a certain gene pool associated with a particular geographic region). For roses you could in principle detect the fraction of Austrian Copper or such in any of the Pernetianas and anything that actually descended from them. Likewise how much R blanda is in Carefree Beauty, how much R setigera is in Doubloons, Goldilocks and so on.

For the Petite KO it would be reasonable to predict that the location of the miniaturizing, or dwarfing genes is easily knowable if not already known.

Linkage disequilibrium, meaning that random assortment doesn't happen for one reason or another, is what makes it hard to get all the desired traits together, or apart, like yellow color and B.S. resistance. BTW some Rainbow KO seedlings have that problem solved, if it was a real problem.

So I can see why Ball or whoever, wants us to not take advantage of all their hard work or luck. I don't much like their approach and expect a good case could be made that their process patent is overbroad. But the problem is that you'd have to challenge them in court. That costs money. So they win by intimidation. Public opinion and private pressure is probably the most affordable tool.

My choice is to work with the nearly infinite available germplasm pool with what farmers might call landraces (well adapted, different, non-patent CVs, species and old favorites) mining them for interesting traits. I won't run out of work or beautiful new roses in my lifetime.


Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71038Post MidAtlas1
Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:33 pm

In many ways, given the apparently conventional breeding background of this plant (as far as it is possible to say, considering that one of the breeding parents is undisclosed) and the naturally low likelihood of identical or near-identical offspring in the first place, it does seem unreasonable to use the patent process to forbid conventional cross-breeding (which can be occur through entirely natural processes, i.e insect pollination) or even the selection of naturally-occurring sports (should they be pruned out and burned instead? Whose interests would that serve?). I think that is the sort of gut reaction that has prompted some of the passionate responses here. On the other hand, it feels more reasonable to place these sorts of restrictions on fairly limited, premeditated and directed actions that mostly take advantage of the rose's existing genetics, such as induced mutations and targeted genetic manipulation. If the rose in question were actually the result of some genetic modification by its breeder, it would all make more sense, since there would be one or more specific proprietary fragments of DNA that could not be protected otherwise. However, without a specific genetic sequences being protected, there is virtually no way that 10 generations of crossing (or anywhere even remotely near that) will result in a plant that derives any substantial, discernable benefits exclusively from having this rose in its ancestry. If there is a unique genetic code that only exists in the undisclosed proprietary parent, then it would have made more sense to protect that variety. The other two varieties listed as parents in this case are more or less available for anyone to use without restriction.

A further argument against such an extreme practice is that it will likely serve to hurt the patentee/patent holder just as much if not more than it does everyone else, since it is only by way of the sheer number and diversity of creative crosses performed by many individuals from diverse backgrounds and regions, all having different perspectives and goals, that this sort of invention was made possible in the first place. Just think where they would be if William Radler had not been allowed to create 'RADrazz' KNOCK OUT and 'RADtko' DOUBLE KNOCK OUT due to a utility patent restricting the use of, say, 'BUCbi' CAREFREE BEAUTY, or any one of many, many thousands of varieties whose use in crosses has allowed roses to be bred to their current level. The novel (and, sadly, perhaps only hypothetical) offspring of this variety generated by some enterprising amateur or even an evenly-matched competitor would just as likely feed back into their own breeding program loop, and with that process compounding over time, result in far greater profits for everyone. If fair reward for conventional breeding work is not provided by the current plant patenting process and trademark protection, then that is a serious problem that should be addressed by government. The implementation of this solution in this way will likely stifle far more innovation than it will promote through the profits pocketed by just one or two corporations, and promoting innovation is the main benefit of patenting to society as a whole.

I don't know if this has been posted on the board before, but here is a very interesting analysis of the relationship between U.S. plant patents and rose breeding from the perspective of economists. It seems that the primary benefits have been to large corporations, and that the process may not have exactly lived up to the intentions of the people who originally fought for it:


Posts: 1114
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:28 pm

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71043Post philip_la
Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:38 pm

I generally object to the notion of utility patents. Any sort of legislation that renders the offspring of organisms that can and do procreate without human interaction "illegal", or that relegates them the intellectual property of the patent holder, is IMHO fundamentally flawed.

In this particular case it also goes against the general collaborative spirit of an occupation in which *we* all feel humbled by the knowledge that we stand on the shoulders of the hybridizers who came before us. This type of action lays sole claim to the entirety of the hybridizing efforts behind the pedigree of a cultivar as it puts a full stop on the potential building upon those efforts by others moving forward. It just isn't in the spirit in which our community operates. But I fear that if it proves successful, it will become the new reality, simply because it can.
Philip F.
Zone 8 / Sunset Zn 30 (Austin, TX -- formerly New Orleans, LA)

Karl K
Posts: 1327
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71044Post Karl K
Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:20 pm

This utility patent on a rose is a small part of a very large and very dangerous trend.

ETC Group News Release
Monday, January 10, 2005
Syngenta Claims Multi-Genome Monopoly

ETC Group's first Communiqué of 2005 focuses on Syngenta, the global gene giant that ranks first in agrochemicals and third in seeds. Syngenta has a patent pending in 115 countries that, if approved, would give it a multi-genome monopoly over at least 40 plant species.
According to a study prepared by Dr. Paul Oldham at Lancaster University (UK), the scope of this massive patent application is virtually limitless - extending to flowering plants in general, including those not yet classified by taxonomists. Syngenta's claims extend to key gene sequences of 23 major food crops annexed to the FAO Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. "If all its claims are approved," says Silvia Ribeiro in ETC's Mexico office, "FAO's seed treaty will be virtually useless." ... e-monopoly

In another assault on control of the food supply, there once was a U.S. patent on a Basmati-type rice that was so broad it included the ancestral strain. The Indian govt. had something to say about that, and the patent was rescinded.

Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:22 pm
Location: SC - Zone 8a

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71045Post Jwindha
Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:54 am

I would encourage people to write letters to the editors of their local newspapers in an effort to raise awareness about this situation and why it is so detrimental. Potential topics could include:

-Litigation resulting from contamination of private breeding lines through insect pollinations.
-Narrowing the genetic base of roses further, through potential contamination of wild germplasm. Should protected genes or sequences from 'Petite' introgress into a wild population, that population may or may not be available for breeding.
-The potential elimination of private breeding programs due to fears of litigation and consequently, a loss of innovation
-A potential threat to food security. Would Star Roses be able to sue a bee keeper over honey made from 'Petite' pollen? An extreme question of course, but one that should be answered. What of the small businesses that produce rose hip jellies, jams, and baked goods?
-The future monopolization of roses by one or two companies and the potential collapse of the rose industry. Who would buy a rose that could land them in jail or result in a fine?

I may be coming off as an alarmist, but I strongly feel that this utility patent is a precedent that will open the door to worse things if it is not stopped now.


Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: Petite Knock Out Rose - AVOID

Post: # 71056Post dgermeys
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:47 pm

MidAtlas1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:33 pm

I don't know if this has been posted on the board before, but here is a very interesting analysis of the relationship between U.S. plant patents and rose breeding from the perspective of economists. It seems that the primary benefits have been to large corporations, and that the process may not have exactly lived up to the intentions of the people who originally fought for it:

Thank you Stefan for this paper. I'm looking forward to read this.

I don't think the use of utility patents in the plant breeding world is a good thing, for several reasons... I also don't see why the 'traditional' Plant Patent is not good enough for Ball Horticulture / Star Roses and Plants / Meilland. If all they wanted is to get a return for they investment (well technically speaking the investment of the House of Meilland, using the material and work of a lot of breeders from the past), this patent should be enough.
So I can only conclude there are other reasons playing here. They seem to want to scare off other plant breeders and hoping to get a monopoly in this specific category of roses. A foolish thought, if you ask me, because there are other roses in the world from other breeders that have the same characteristics, they are just not on the marked in the USA yet and have not been tested for the American varieties of different fungi. But if roses like "Zepeti" are what the USA wants, these other roses will come sooner or later.

From my point of view, I believe applying the utility patent for roses is as wrong decision, a decision that was probably taken by lawyers and managers from the companies, people who do not even understand how rose breeding actually works. But the conclusion remains the same: this is a dangerous evolution and I sincerely hope that the USPTO will deny them this patent, or even better would it be if they withdraw from the applying for it.

Dane from Belgium

Post Reply