An important aspect of developing any intellectual property strategy and portfolio is deciding which method of intellectual property protection to pursue based on the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Plants may be protected through utility patents, certificates under the Plant Variety Protection Act (“PVPA”), and plant patents. Each of these methods has their own requirements with various levels of stringency for obtaining a utility patent, certificate, or plant patent, as well as different levels of protection, as will be discussed below.

Continue Reading Growth through Intellectual Property – Plant Protection through Utility Patents, Certificates, and Plant Patents

 

Agribusiness professionals are already proficient with a variety of federal regulations (USDA, EPA, etc.) but adding an unmanned aircraft system (“UAS”) into the business brings another agency into the mix – the Federal Aviation Administration – with its own set of regulations. In some scenarios this added regulatory burden may be worthwhile because UAS can be used to perform crop protection product (“CPP”) spraying operations (“spraying”) on crops more efficiently than manned aircraft, saving money for both farmers and consumers. Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA (“Yamaha”) recently announced it has been granted an FAA exemption for its FAZER unmanned aircraft system (“UAS”) to be used for agricultural spraying.

Continue Reading Agricultural UAS Receives FAA Approval

globe AsiaThe Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced on Sunday that it would be imposing duties on 128 different U.S. products beginning today, April 2. They provided the list of products last week, particularly targeting U.S. agriculture. The tariffs are on an estimated $3 billion worth of goods.

There will be a tariff of 15% on commodities such as fruits and nuts, wine, seamless steel pipes and modified ethanol. The 15% tariff will apply to 120 tariff lines, including the following: Continue Reading China Announces New Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Goods

On December 4, 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) amended its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The rule reduces the primary annual standard for PM2.5 from 15.0 to 12.0 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). DNR was required to promulgate this rule to be consistent with the U.S. EPA NAAQS for PM2.5, published in January, 2013. The DNR rule is scheduled to be effective January 1, 2018, and will be submitted to the EPA as a revision to the Wisconsin state implementation plan. Continue Reading Wisconsin Tightens Air Quality Standards

droneThe Federal Aviation Administration’s 2017 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Symposium opened on March 27, 2017. Through the first two days of the conference, the FAA has focused on its efforts to work with UAS industry stakeholders to facilitate the integration of UAS into the national airspace system (“NAS”).  In particular, the FAA has focused on three main issues: (1) the promulgation of performance based standards to accommodate future operations as UAS technology evolves; (2) the implementation of a technology based solution to facilitate compliance with FAA regulations and thus operation of UAS and further innovation; and (3) continued integration, as opposed to segregation, of various UAS into the NAS.

Continue Reading Federal Aviation Administration 2017 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Symposium, Days 1-2

cargo ship containersThe Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced new rules, which will take effect December 23, 2016, amending the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). The revised rules expand the scope of medical devices and agricultural commodities that may be exported or re-exported to Iran without specific authorization, pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA).

Continue Reading OFAC Amends Iran Sanctions to Ease Humanitarian Trade

Flag of CubaCuba’s Minister of Agriculture, Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, made an official visit to the U.S. last week together with a delegation of officials from other Cuban ministries.  Minister Rollero’s visit was preceded by a February 2016 visit from Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuba’s Foreign Trade Minister.  These visits marked the first U.S. visits from senior Cuban government officials in over 50 years.  President Obama, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon have also made their own historic visits to Cuba within recent months.  Secretary Vilsack’s visit included a meeting in Havana to sign a Memorandum of Understanding  (the “MOU”) between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture enabling the two agencies to cooperate in fields such as phytosanitary standards, plant and animal sanitation, organic production methods, climatology and irrigation through collaborative efforts such as information exchange and scientific research.

Continue Reading U.S. Visit From Cuban Ag Minister Highlights Future Trade Opportunities Under Amended Sanctions

food on shelvesThe FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) sets forth sweeping reforms of US food safety laws with the primary goal of strengthening the food safety system through prevention of food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur.

The FSMA aims to preempt safety concerns at all levels of the supply chain – including transportation.  The Final Rule governing the safe transportation of food is expected to be enacted today, March 31, 2016.

Continue Reading Final Rule Regarding the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Under the Food Safety Modernization Act Expected by March 31, 2016 – Is Your Business Ready?

spring sunriseIn Part 1 of this blog, I discussed the question of data ownership and data protection obligations in precision agriculture.  More specifically, I noted that all parties along the field to fork chain should give careful consideration to whether farm data likely will be generated at some point in the process and, if so, who is entitled to own or control the data and what data protection obligations exist as a result.  In Part 2, I look at the various types of disputes that can arise if parties fail to reach agreement on key issues before starting work.  Once agreement is reached, these points then need to be documented in a well-drafted contract.  The range of potential disputes that could break out if good contracting is not employed should convince anyone in business in this area to have well-prepared, thorough written agreements in place to govern precision ag-related business dealings.

Continue Reading Agree to Agree: Data Ownership, Protection and Precision Ag (Part 2)

Ag Innovation ShowcaseEarlier this week, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Larta Institute hosted this year’s Ag Innovation Showcase. Husch Blackwell LLP was proud to sponsor and have several of our attorneys attend this event. This year’s attendance surpassed 400 and registration was closed due to excess demand.
Continue Reading 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase Draws A Sellout Crowd