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6 Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology 305 (2004)


A new hierarchy of intellectual property protection for plant innovation is emerging. Utility patent protection is poised to become the dominant intellectual property mechanism for plants in the U.S. and perhaps elsewhere. Plant breeder's rights systems continue to garner a dedicated following, especially in developing countries, as a means for complying with international intellectual property treaty obligations. But while utility patent and plant breeder's rights regimes have come to occupy the first tier of the intellectual property hierarchy for plants, other forms of intellectual property protection remain important, albeit in a supplemental role. This article surveys supplemental intellectual property strategies for plants in three areas: trade secrets (Section II); trademarks and unfair competition (Section III); and post-sale license restrictions (Section IV).