Siegers Seed Company Trying To Own All Pumpkins With Warts

| 2/11/2009 3:31:00 PM

Tags: plant patents, warty pumpkins, Siegers Seed Co., Cheryl Long,

warty pumpkins

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 .

3/16/2009 2:16:27 AM

There is currently a bill in Congress, HR 875, that would require ALL seed varieties to be government approved. The bill is written very broadly, but could be used to criminalize heirloom tomatoes. I hae no idea what would happen to pumpkins with warts, maybe call out the National Guard ? I found this hard to believe, but take a look. For more information, just look up HR 875 or go to

3/14/2009 10:45:43 AM

I got on their website, and as another poster mentioned, they are seeking to patent the three varieties that they claim to have developed. I haven't read the patent application, but patenting their own varieties is nothing new. Most large seed developers do this very thing. I'm sure most of us are familiar with the Texas 1015 onion, Blue Lake green bean, etc. These are just two examples of this sort of thing. As long as they don't, as stated, attempt to patent the entire array of warted gourds, it seems reasonable. If these varieties are here on this Earth solely because of Sieger's developing them, then I think they have a legal right to patent them, no? Open for discussion...

jennifer hoffman
2/28/2009 12:06:50 PM

All readers please seach the net for Arcimboldo Art. His painting "Vertumnus" shows what appears to be a warty cucurbit on the forhead. This was painted in 1590. If this is not "prior art" (literaly, and for patent reject purposes) I don't know what is....?

2/25/2009 11:52:03 PM

I wouldn't be so sure that they wont get the patent. An asian company attempted to get a patent for oyster mushrooms with a convex cap. The renowned mycologist Paul Stamets stated it would be like attempting to get patent rights for trees with vertical trunks. Alas, the patent WAS given to the company even though these types of mushrooms have existed in the wild for millenia. As for Zackary yes it should belong to the people. So should the genes you possess in your own body, yet many of them are also patented. Once the gene sequencing craze took off with genentech, whole genes were being patented before scientists even knew their purpose,or what they coded for, they still don't. Yet they can somehow patent that which we all possess in nearly every cell in our OWN bodies. All hail the New world order and their Multinational corporations. Apparently they own our very genetic makeup.

2/17/2009 1:26:11 PM

Just found the patent application: ..and followed up with an e-mail to Siegers: I have just read your patent application for the warty pumpkin/squash. The guy who did this should be fired, as all it's done is create bad publicity for your company. As kids we had contests every year to see who could come up with the wartiest pumpkin for Halloween! I'm sending copies of the pumpkins to the patent office to protest your application. Nuts! PS-I will not be placing my customary seed order with you this year, but am considering Rupps instead. Sincerely, April Mills

2/17/2009 1:11:29 PM

Dear Mother.... I read Siegers site info on the warty pumpkins and it seems to me they are laying claim to three pumpkin varieties they developed - not all warty pumpkin varieties. Never one to jump on a bandwagon without getting both sides of a story for myself.......I've emailed Seigers to ask what their side of the story is. Do you have the patent application numbers or other neutral source of information? Thanks!

jasen f
2/16/2009 12:18:46 PM

My letter for to Siegers Seed Co. As a former professional in the patent services industry and an organic farmer, I was dismayed to learn of your company's attempt to patent all types of pumpkins with warts. This type of thinking and intellectual theft of a natural and shared resource is deplorable and without recourse. I will not support your company and use all the resources at my disposal to inform the public of your tactics. Sincerely, Jasen Farmer

2/16/2009 11:56:17 AM

Rock on, Cheryl. I am really optimistic that this bogus gene grab will be summarily squashed. But some days even optimistic old Hank gets a little pessimistic ... especially when some huge bureaucratic process is involved. George Yahwak's post puts me more at ease. Thanks for weighing in, George. Hank

2/15/2009 10:09:32 PM

I also heard that there was a movement to try to persuade people to drink bottled water so private companies could buy public water sources and control all water rights. People need to be told what is going on and everyone should put pressure on representatives to stop this movement to control our food and water sources. Everyone should be outraged!

2/14/2009 2:52:29 PM

Please write the patent office. I did. Here is my email to them: The Siegers attempt to patent what are known as "warty pumpkins" is a blatant scheme to monopolize that species. Please reject all 25 claims of the patent application on warted pumpkins, including, but not reserved to, all Cucurbita pepo and Cucurbita maxima exhibiting a warty surface. The history of these plants goes back centuries. American indigenous peoples have cultivated them for thousands of years. What a disgusting attempted rip off. Thank you for your kind attention. Sincerely, You can use my email as a guide or create your own.

2/14/2009 1:04:27 PM

WHO?? Wants a wort pumpkin anyway? Now if the worts spell the company's name NOW that could be another thing?

george yahwak
2/14/2009 11:16:34 AM

As a Patent Attorney with some 35 years experience I dpoubt very much that they will receive their patent and even if they do, all one has to show is that there were seeds to warty pumpkins available more than one year prior to the time they filed their application. And even if the Patent Office is foolish enough to grant the patent, I doubt that it would be enforceable. The person who prepared and filed the application did a disservice to the company by not informing them about what it acually takes to get a patednt. George M Yahwak Attorney At Law 25 Skytop Drive Trumbull, CT 06611

2/14/2009 11:15:40 AM

One more note: Those reading here, really need to go to the ETC link provided in the article above, it's not just about pumpkins... Siegers' claim is just (more) proof that the quest for profit can make people insane. But, if this is granted, I may submit requests for patents on four leaf clovers, trees with burls, albino deer, double yolk eggs and pearls. -Dave

2/14/2009 10:21:38 AM

Well, I suppose someone with a vested interest (e.g other seed makers and growers) could play Sieger's game and copyright the name "warty pumpkin." It's faster and easier than a patent. I'm sure that would put a wrench in their gears. Plus, there's power in your dollar and your mouth, I've already e-mailed them my intent to by seeds elsewhere -pass the word. -Dave

alinda harrison
2/13/2009 1:15:47 PM

The way the patent applications work, the application is noted and then there is a period open for people to contest the patent. That's why it is important to contact the patent office before the end of the comment period with any evidence you have that the existence of warty pumpkins pre-date their claim. If no one contacts the patent office to dispute their claim, they could conceivably win their patent by default. It's happened before... peace

2/13/2009 10:38:45 AM

This is so what people are about in this day and age!! I will be sure I do not support this or any other company that applies to patent plants. God owns the patent on all of them!!!!! When we get greedy like this, it really shows where our beliefs are not!!!

2/13/2009 9:16:37 AM

The best thing to do to a company like this is not do any business with them, hopefully their greed will bring them down.

2/12/2009 11:08:51 PM

This is retarded! Where do these nuts get off, these people are just as much enemies of the pepole as the king were who owned the serfs!Some of these seeds are ancient, the product of countless generations of real farmers,not geeks in white overcoats,they do this and we rebel! Besides I wonder what the Creator would think of this?

2/12/2009 7:05:08 AM

siegers is just following monsanto's lead once the can of worms was opened and the patent office allowed life to be patented, all bets are off.

zackary leroy
2/11/2009 5:55:03 PM

That is absolutely ridicoulous! Why would you put a patent over something solitary like that it is not there right to own something like that it belongs to the people!

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