U.S. Plant Patents, 1931-present

The Plant Patent Act of 1930 extended patent protection to inventors who had discovered or cultivated and asexually reproduced distinct and new varieties of plants, excluding tubers (potatoes, etc.) and plants found in an uncultivated state. The first plant patent, PP1, issued in 1931. Types of plants that are eligible for patent protection include trees, shrubs, fruits, mushrooms, and grasses.

The Plant Variety Protection of 1970 provides protection in the form of exclusive marketing rights for sexually-reproducing plants. The PVP is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Plant patent applications are assigned serial numbers in the same series as utility patent applications. As of January 2016, more than 26,000 plant patents have been granted.

Table 1. U.S. Plant Patents, 1931-present

Year 1st Plant Patent
2016 PP26,285
2015 PP25,207
2014 PP24,135
2013 PP23,288
2012 PP22,428
2011 PP21,816
2010 PP20,622
2009 PP19,613
2008 PP18,373
2007 PP17,326
2006 PP16,176
2005 PP15,460
2004 PP14,441
2003 PP13,447
2002 PP12,314
2001 PP11,728
2000 PP11,169
1999 PP10,743
1998 PP10,172
1997 PP9,776
1996 PP9,413
1995 PP9,026
1994 PP8,527
1993 PP8,082
1992 PP7,089
1991 PP7,761
1990 PP7,408
1989 PP6,501
1988 PP6,075
1987 PP5,846
1986 PP5,622
1985 PP5,380
1984 PP5,168
1983 PP4,970
1982 PP4,796
1981 PP4,612
1980 PP4,491
1979 PP4,360
1978 PP4,174
1977 PP4,001
1976 PP3,824
1975 PP3,674
1974 PP3,413
1973 PP3,281
1972 PP3,063
1971 PP3,011
1970 PP2,959
1969 PP2,856
1968 PP2,784
1967 PP2,699
1966 PP2,585
1965 PP2,465
1964 PP2,337
1963 PP2,208
1962 PP2,117
1961 PP2,009
1960 PP1,893
1959 PP1,792
1958 PP1,672
1957 PP1,543
1956 PP1,442
1955 PP1,339
1954 PP1,238
1953 PP1,160
1952 PP1,059
1951 PP1,001
1950 PP911
1949 PP818
1948 PP774
1947 PP722
1946 PP666
1945 PP649
1944 PP611
1943 PP564
1942 PP499
1941 PP437
1940 PP352
1939 PP307
1938 PP266
1937 PP211
1936 PP162
1935 PP117
1934 PP85
1933 PP52
1932 PP6
1931 PP1

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