A record label for plants

It’s like a record label for plants. This is the ending of my elevator pitch when people ask me what I do for a living. Plant royalty management is not exactly a term that sticks.

A record label should enable musicians to earn money from their songs and protect against illegal copying. Labels also manage logistics and marketing so that the artist can focus on their creative work.

Our business does pretty much the same and aims to generate long-term royalty income for breeders from plant cultivars they create. We protect their plant by Plant Breeder’s Rights and Plant Patent and manage the licensing. Promoting their plants internationally is also part of our job.

There is a constant need for innovation with plants. Not just for the ornamental aspects such as new flower colours. It’s also about creating cultivars that can meet the needs of our time. Take, for example, drought-tolerant plants. With summers getting hotter and drier, plants for ‘water-wise landscaping’ are much in demand. Two breeders we work with from South Africa, Quinton Bean and Andy de Wet, develop plants that not only can resist heat and drought but are equally aesthetically pleasing . Their cultivars Aloe Safari Sunrise (‘X5’) and Agapanthus Twister (‘AMBIC001’), are now sold worldwide.

Innovative plant introductions are more than welcome now that boxwood blight in wreaking havoc across Europe. Boxwood has been widely used in gardens but now landscapers are  looking for alternatives. For a decade, André van Nijnatten from the Netherlands worked on developing his Ilex crenata Globe (‘Annys5’). His variety was launched right before the outbreak of boxwood blight. Now Ilex Globe is a popular variety to replace boxwood.

Innovation needs to be stimulated. Whether it’s music or plants, intellectual property contributes to innovation. And I’m proud to be part of that industry.

Kim van Rijssen

…works for Plantipp BV, a Dutch based company specialising in royalty management.

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