The proposed legislation would appear to be desirable and to lend far-reaching encouragement to agriculture and benefit to the general public.
Mr. Thomas A. Edison states that—
Nothing that Congress could do to help farming would be of greater value and permanence than to give to the plant breeder the same status as the mechanical and chemical inventors now have through the patent law. There are but few plant breeders. This (the bill) will, I feel sure, give us many Burbanks.
The proposed legislation has been endorsed by former Secretary of Agriculture Jardine, the National Horticultural Council, the American Association of Nurserymen, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Grange, and many State commissioners of agriculture, experiment station officials, and individual growers and nurserymen.
III. Explanation of Provisions of Bill.
Classes of New Varieties.
New and distinct varieties fall into three classes—sports, mutants, and hybrids.
In the first class of cases, the sports, the new and distinct variety results from bud vanation and not seed variation. A plant or portion of a plant may suddenly assume an appearance or character distinct from that which normally characterizes the variety or species.
In the second class of cases, the mutants, the new and distinct variety results from seedling variation by self pollenization of species.
In the third class of cases, the hybrids, the new and distinct variety results from seedlings of cross pollenization of two species, two varieties, or of a species and a variety, In this case the word "hybrid" is used in its broadest sense.
All such plants must be asexually reproduced in order to have their identity preserved. This is necessary since seedlings either of chance or selipollenization from any of these would not preserve the character of the individual.
These cultivated sports, mutants, and hybrids are all included in the bill, and probably embrace every new variety that is included. The exclusion 01 a wild variety, the chance find of the plant explorer, is in no sense a limitation on the usefulness of the bill to those who follow agriculture or horticulture as a livelihood and who are permitted under the bill to patent their discovenes.
Patent Grants Right of Asexual Reproduction Only.
Whether the new variety is a sport, mutant, or hybrid, the patent right granted is a right to propagate the new variety by asexual reproduction. It does not include the right to propagate by seeds. This limitation in the nJu Sfanted recognizes a practical situation and greatly narrows the scope ot the bill. Whether the new variety is a hybrid, mutant or sport, there is never more than one specimen of it produced except through asexual reproduction. For example, without asexual reproduction there would have been but one true Mclntosh or Greening apple tree. These varieties of apple could not have been preserved had it not been through human effort in the asexual reproduction of the two original trees. They could not have