What Not To Do
There are some things that can be big problems down the line. Knowing potential pitfalls can hopefully help you avoid problems.
Don't hand out plants without Trial Agreements.
This is the worst way to get started and most often results in someone else claiming to have discovered your plant or other confusion which in turn delays release of new plants.
Don't delay in deciding if the plant is worth the work.
Why risk losing money? Send digital images of your discoveries to Proven Winners and we can tell you if the plant is unique. There's no risk and you'll learn more about the whole process at the same time.
Don't insist on your names for plants.
It seems unfair but it is true, in most cases plant names change when a plant goes to market. This doesn't mean the patent can't have your name and the name you chose for the plant on it, but for retail markets the experts are often right; be realistic.
Don't become the problem.
Once the process has begun you need to be kept informed of what is going on. In most cases that is a quarterly or bi-annual notification of your plant's status. You can even insist on this in your contract, but don't make the mistake of calling weekly to get updates. They are your babies, but once in the system it will simply take time. Be proactive, but don't be a pest.
Don't distribute before patenting.
A trial agreement will protect you from many deadlines on when a plant becomes un-patentable, but giving away material without a trial agreement can start the clock and after one year your plant cannot be patented anymore, so protect yourself!
Don't change horses in midstream.
If things are not going well of course you need to get out of a bad arrangement, but doing it repeatedly will earn you a reputation among plant development firms. It is a small industry and you don't want people to close the door before you even get a chance to present your plants. Don't sweat the small stuff and focus on protecting yourself.
Sending plants off in hopes of making it big.
The moment you send a plant off to someone without a trial agreement you start the clock ticking. You have one year from that point to get your patent in place; after that year is up your plant is not patentable anymore. Remember it takes 2-3 years to get a plant through trialing alone and up to five years or more to get to commercial release. Protect yourself and don't give away your material without protection.