In honor of National Inventors Month - and just in time for Spring! - the New York State Library's 7th floor exhibit for April features images from plants that were patented by New Yorkers.
When they hear the word "patents," most people think of either utility patents (patents for a useful process, such as the light bulb) or design patents (for items of an ornamental nature, such as a design on fabric).
But another type of patent may be granted for inventing or discovering and asexually reproducing any distinct and new variety of plant.
This may include cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids, and newly found seedlings, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.
Examples of the many plants patented by New York state inventors include several varieties of roses (the state flower), petunias, clematis, anemones and and other decorative plants, as well as bushes.
Varieties of fruit, including apples (the state fruit), raspberries, strawberries, wine grapes and sweet cherries have also been patented by New Yorkers. Originally, plant patents were accompanied by sketches, but they now feature photographs of the plants to be patented, so that any distinctive features of the plant which can be seen are shown.
The New York State Library has been a US Patent and Trademark Resource Center since 1871. Our collection includes nearly everything the USPTO has published and distributed, ranging from early material in paper, through microforms, CD/DVDs and up to their current online databases. The public is welcome to visit the Library and use the U.S. Patent collection for both patentability searches and historical inquiries.
Exhibit curated by Stephanie Barrett and Samantha Berry