There are state and federal laws that address the purchase and use of seed that deal with intellectual property and quality assurance. The U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) and U.S. patent laws protect the seed developer from unauthorized use or sale. They also protect seed varieties for 20 years, however, the protections they provide are different. For example, the PVPA allows farmers who lawfully purchase seed to save seeds to replant on the farmer’s property. This is prohibited under patent laws. Pennsylvania law is focused on keeping the germination ratio high and reducing the risk of introducing unwanted weeds.
Farmers should read the labels for all seed that they purchase. This is the easiest way to ensure that the seed is compliant with all federal and state laws, and to ensure that they do not inadvertently misuse the seed they purchase. Further, seed should only be purchased from licensed distributors.