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Pumpkins with warts look pretty weird, and in America, and especially at Halloween, weird often sells well. So the Siegers seed company is attempting to patent and “own” all pumpkins with warts, even though pumpkins with warts have been grown by gardeners for centuries. As heirloom vegetable expert Will Weaver put it, “This is like trying to patent all trees with twisted limbs.” But Siegers is claiming they have somehow “invented” warty pumpkins, and threatening to sue other companies if they try to sell seeds of warty pumpkins if the patent is granted. The ETC group has sounded the alarm and called on the U.S. Patent Office to “reject all 25 claims of the patent application on warted pumpkins.”
Warty pumpkins are clearly not a new invention. Patenting a “new and improved” variety is one thing, but Siegers is attempting to claim ownership of all warty pumpkins.
Read more in the GRIT blog by Mother Earth News contributing editor (and plant geneticist) Hank Will: Siegers Attempts to Patent Pumpkin History and Siegers Seed Co. Threatens Action Over Warty Pumpkins.
Gardeners and farmers have seen this kind of attempt to abuse the patent process before. Maybe an outpouring of objections, directed to the folks at Siegers and to the patent office will convince them to withdraw their patent application.
Cheryl Long is the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. She leads a team of editors which produces high quality content that has resulted in MOTHER EARTH NEWS being rated as one North America’s favorite magazines. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of heritage chickens. Prior to taking the helm at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, she was an editor at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years. Connect with her on Google+.