Plant & Food Research has an international reputation for developing new and innovative plant varieties with commercial success. However, early in its relationship with US partner, Northwest Plant Company LLC (NWPCO) it was recognised that a traditional royalties based on plant sales would not generate sufficient revenues to justify commencing, let alone sustaining, a plant breeding programme, even if the resultant varieties were widely planted and hugely successful.
In the case of 'Wakefield', a new raspberry cultivar that had shown promising benefits over other varieties, the solution was to implement a new pricing model based on an annual grower licence fee for use of variety.
The annual fee continues for the life of the planting and is based on the value Wakefield delivers to growers, structured so that the grower retains a minimum two thirds of the commercial benefit of growing Wakefield over and above what they would earn from growing other varieties.
Use of the plant therefore delivers significant benefits to the growers, but also returns annual earnings to Plant & Food Research. This innovative model has now seen licensing fees returned to New Zealand from the intellectual property already exceed NZ$1 Million with significant further growth projected.