SIPA FAQs

SEED INNOVATION AND PROTECTION ALLIANCE

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How and why was SIPA formed?
The membership of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) recognized the need for a concerted, industry-wide effort to champion the importance of intellectual property (IP) protection. They formed the Seed Innovation and Protection Alliance (SIPA) to create a unified and consistent voice for education and best practices around intellectual property protection and its value to our society.

How is SIPA different from other organizations?
SIPA is solely focused on intellectual property issues in the seed industry. Its diverse membership represents organizations of all sizes and crop segments, including professionals who specialize in intellectual property rights.

Why does protecting seed IP matter?
Innovations from the seed industry are helping to address many of the economic, environmental and health issues we face as a global society. Seed improvements allow us to produce more food from the same land, which is essential to feed our growing population. Seed improvements result in produce that is healthier and more nutritious. And seed improvements mean less food waste because new varieties create produce that stays fresh longer and have more consistent quality. SIPA will help the industry communicate the value of these innovations, the need for investments in seed research and the critical importance of protecting new discoveries—all so plant breeders can continue to focus on developing seed improvements that benefit us all.

What is the cost of intellectual property violations?
A recent survey concluded that individual IP violation can cost the industry between $300,000 to $500,000—and sometimes more than $1 million—depending of the scale of the infraction and the specific seed technology. It can cost up to $1 million or more to bring a new variety to market and it can cost upwards of $100 to $150 million to bring a new seed technology to market (Link). The cost of seed IP violations limit seed companies’ ability to focus on bringing new products to market that can address larger societal challenges, including enhancing agricultural productivity to feed the growing global population.

So what will SIPA actually do?
Members have expressed a need for education across the seed industry. Thus, we will be helping companies and stakeholders articulate the benefits of protecting seed innovations through the various forms of protection available and how to manage compliance issues. Currently, we are identifying and developing educational materials and best practices and we will conduct various educational workshops for our members, including leadership, sales and marketing, and research and development personnel. SIPA also serves as a resource for questions or concerns around compliance with IPRs.

Is SIPA another ASTA Committee?
No. SIPA is a separate entity.

Who can be a member of SIPA?
SIPA welcomes membership from across the seed and agricultural industry, including but not limited to, seed companies, growers, producers, authorized dealers, brokers, suppliers, service providers, universities, as well as state and federal agencies. To learn more, visit our web site: www.seedipalliance.com.

Who are SIPA’s members?
SIPA’s membership is diverse in terms of organizational size and scope, and includes companies that develop and sell flower, vegetable, grass and row crop seeds.

How will SIPA facilitate the respect of intellectual property rights?
First and foremost, we must inform seed developers and users alike of the importance of intellectual property protection. Although many may be familiar with farmer “saved seed” investigations, IPR violations can occur within seed companies, academic research institutions and others. IPR violations affect vegetables, grasses and row crops. Quite often, there is a lack of knowledge around IPRs and that’s where education can help in preventing IPR violations.

Our members are also interested in resources available that can help them improve their individual business practices and resolve matters around compliance. SIPA will work with member companies to help them identify resources that can help resolve IPR compliance allegations.

What kind of support does SIPA have within the seed industry?
SIPA has support from throughout the seed industry including the ASTA, seed companies, and service providers.

Why should I become a member of SIPA?
SIPA is organized to serve the diverse needs of its members as it relates to acquiring, understanding and respecting intellectual property rights. No issue is more important to the future of agriculture than continued investment in developing new and improved seed varieties that benefit society.