15-16/08/2019 – Chicago/St. Charles Workshop on IP for Plants

15-16/08/2019 – Chicago/St. Charles Workshop on IP for Plants


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In August 2019, the CIOPORA Academy will return to the US with a two-day event including a full-day/five-module Workshop on IP for plants (Aug 15), the traditional networking event (Aug 15), and a business excursion at the Ball’s premises in West Chicago (Aug 16).



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Book your accommodation at a special rate!

Until July 23, Baker Hotel is currently keeping a block of guest rooms for the CIOPORA Academy group. The CIOPORA Academy participants receive a special rate of $ 95.00++ per night incl. continental breakfast.

To receive the CIOPORA Academy group rate, please indicate your group affiliation at the time of the booking. Room reservations can be undertaken via phone or email:

Phone: +1 630 584 2100 Keyword: “The CIOPORA Academy, Aug 15”

Email: Download the reservation form.
Please indicate “The CIOPORA Academy, Aug 15” in the email subject line.


August 15 – 16, 2019


Hotel Baker
100 W Main St
St. Charles
IL 60174, USA
T: +1 630 584 2100

Aug 15 – Workshop program:

08:30 – 09:00 – Arrival & registration

09:00 – Module 1: U.S. Utility Patents for vegetatively reproduced plants by Audrey Charles, Patent Agent and Trademark Administrator at Ball Horticultural Company

What will I learn?
In the United States, the scope of patent coverage for vegetatively reproduced plants is not limited to the Plant Patent Act. However, there has not been industry-wide use of utility patents having an independent claim to an individual vegetatively reproduced plant. Such patents have long been commonplace for seed propagated plants. Wider use of this type of utility patent protection is now possible due to the option to have vegetative plant material processed for long-term storage at an approved depository. Because utility patent protection typically includes multiple claims, the ability to exclude others from breeding with the claimed plant can clearly be achieved. Representative claims and advantages offered as compared to other forms of protection will be discussed.

10:15 – Coffee break

10:45 – Module 2: Plant Variety Protection for vegetatively reproduced varieties in the USA by Travis Bliss, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney PC

What will I learn?
Intellectual property protection for new plant varieties in the U.S. has historically been divided into two distinct regimes, depending on how the plant is propagated. IP protection for asexually reproduced plant varieties existed only in the form of plant patents, which issue from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). On the other hand, plants that are propagated sexually could be protected by one or both of a Utility Patent, issued by the USPTO, or a Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Certificate, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  However, with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, PVP Protection is now available for asexually reproduced varieties. This presentation will discuss the latter protection option and provide information on its implementation.  

12:00 – Networking lunch

13:15 – Module 3: UPOV, the Breeder’s Exemption, and U.S. Plant Patent Law by Matthew Chivvis, Partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP, USA

What will I learn?
Mr. Chivvis will discuss the interplay between the breeder’s exemption under UPOV and U.S. Plant Patent law.  U.S. Plant Patents can be used to protect asexually reproducing plant varieties (that are not tuber propagated).  They forbid the asexual propagation, use, or importation in the U.S. of the protected variety or any of its parts.  Plant Breeder’s Rights for asexually reproducing plant varieties within EU provide different protections.  Although they include a longer list of enumerated rights, these rights are subject to large exceptions.  Recent cases consider whether these two systems have created loopholes in protection that can be exploited by competing breeding operations.

14:30 – Coffee break

15:00 – Module 4: Patent for plant innovations in the EU – new developments by Fleur Tuinzing-Westerhuis, Houthoff, The Netherlands

What will I learn?
Over the past few years, there has been uncertainty in the EU about the patentability of plant material obtained from essentially biological processes. The European Patent Convention provides that essentially biological processes for the production of plants are excluded from patentability, but does not explicitly exclude plants obtained from such processes. This presentation will discuss recent developments in the legal landscape of patentability of plant material in the EU as well as relevant case law.

16:15 – Coffee break

16:45 – Module 5: The European Court of Justice ruling on New Breeding Techniques and its consequences for the horticultural business by Fleur Tuinzing-Westerhuis, Houthoff, The Netherlands

What will I learn?
On 25 July 2018, the European Union Court of Justice (EUCJ) held that the mutagenesis exception in the EU GMO Directive does not extend to all forms of mutagenesis. It only sees to organisms “obtained by means of techniques/methods of mutagenesis which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record”. The EUCJ does not define ‘mutagenesis’ and does not provide any guidance on how and by whom safety should be established. This presentation will discuss the decision of the EUCJ and its impact on the business of companies involved in the breeding and trading of products obtained by New Breeding Techniques.

18:00 – End of the workshop

19:15 – Group meets in the hotel lobby, leaves for the dinner venue

19:30 – Networking Dinner at Francesca’s By The River, St. Charles

Aug 16 – Visit at Ball, West Chicago:

The visit is free-of-charge, generously sponsored by Ball!

09:00 – Arrival at Ball premises

09:00 – 10:00 – Welcome by Anna Ball, CEO & President. Brief overview of the Ball Horticultural Company; Presentation about new R&D initiative at Ball and the importance of IP protection

10:00 – 11:00 – Tours of the Ball’s Seed Processing Center and Seed Distribution Center

11:00 -11:15 – Coffee break

11:15 – 12:30 – Tour of Ball gardens

12:30 – Lunch on the grounds

1:30 – END of program, the group returns to the Hotel Baker by bus.

Meet the speakers

Audrey Charles

Audrey Charles

Patent Agent and Trademark Administrator at Ball Horticultural Company, USA
As the Intellectual Property Lead for Ball Horticultural Company, Audrey Charles manages the company’s trademark and patent portfolio, which includes hundreds of trademarks and U.S. plant patents as well as numerous utility patents and U.S. PVP Certificates. As a patent agent, she has drafted and prosecuted more than 500 U.S. plant patents. Audrey began her career at Ball 32 years ago as a research scientist. She has a B.S. degree in biology/botany and an M.S. degree in horticulture from The Ohio State University.
Travis Bliss, Ph.D.

Travis Bliss, Ph.D.

Travis Bliss
Partner at Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP

Travis Bliss counsels a variety of clients ranging from individual inventors to small businesses to Fortune 500 companies in nearly all aspects of Intellectual Property law. Travis prepares and prosecutes patent applications; litigates patent, Trademark, and other IP disputes in federal and state courts; represents clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board; counsels clients in a variety of IP issues, including due diligence, FTO, infringement, and patentability; and prepares and negotiates IP licenses. From a technology standpoint, Travis’s practice falls largely within the life sciences field and also includes a large focus on novel plant varieties in the agriculture, horticulture, and cannabis/hemp industries. Travis has been a lawyer member of CIOPORA since 2014.

Matthew A. Chivvis

Matthew A. Chivvis

Partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP, San Francisco, USA

Matthew Chivvis protects his clients’ intellectual property and defends his clients wrongly accused of infringement. His hearing and trial experience is extensive. Intellectual Asset Management 1000 remarked that Matthew is “a skilled technical lawyer and brief writer who can handle large and nuanced cases.” He has litigated patent matters in many of the top patent venues throughout the United States.

Matthew is a registered patent attorney, and his considerable experience includes practicing before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, especially in inter partes and post-grant review proceedings. He also regularly advises clients on plant and agriculture intellectual property matters, including strategic use of plant patents, plant-variety protection certificates, and trademark rights.

Fleur Tuinzing-Westerhuis

Fleur Tuinzing-Westerhuis

Fleur Tuinzing-Westerhuis
Counsel at Houthoff

Fleur Tuinzing-Westerhuis is a Counsel at Houtfoff (The Netherlands) and specializes in technology-related Intellectual Property matters, with focus on Patents and Plant Variety Rights. In her daily practice, Fleur represents a wide variety of domestic and international companies that are active in technology-intensive business sectors, such as agrifood and biotech. Fleur is an experienced patent litigator and is one of a handful of lawyers in the Netherlands with extensive experience in litigation relating to national and Community Plant Variety Rights. Over the past seventeen years, Fleur has litigated in various cases before the Dutch courts, the Dutch Board of Plant Varieties and the CPVO. Furthermore, Fleur has broad experience in advising on commercial contracts, including R&D agreements, license and technology transfer agreements.