Ownership rights to sport of patented Hybrid Tea

I have eight bushes of a fairly new and patented HT. One of the eight has blooms of exactly the same form but a distinctly different color (pink with ivory yellow reverse rather than the usual red with ivory yellow reverse). First, would a rose bush like this be considered a sport? I bought it at a nursery as a bare root plant and only discovered this difference when the rose came into bloom. I clearly own the rose bush, but what right, if any, would I have to license commercialization rights to this rose? What rights are retained by the patent holder? Any practical advice as to how best to proceed? Thanks!

Hi Cliff, Sports of named varieties are relatively common in roses. As long as they remain stable and are unique from the original cultivar they can be renamed or repatented under a new name. The discoverer can claim ownership or resell his discovery if he finds an interested buyer. As I know you grow exhibition varieties, it may behoove you to investigate it further. I can forward an address for Weeks roses if your interested in getting it into their trials. It’s also quite common to get an individual sport of a single blossom. If the whole plant or at least a portion of the branch supporting the blossom has sported you should be able to isolate a bud at a leaf axil to produce enough vegetative growth for propagation. Thanks, Robert

Thanks very much, Robert. It appears to be the entire plant, at least so far. Your input’s much appreciated!


Hi Cliff, it’s likely the bud that was used to produce your plant was a part of a some bud wood that came from a sported plant. It could also be that you have another variety that got mixed into the lot your other plants of the same variety came from. You may have to do some research to find out how unique your plant is. Chances are if it is a sport there are at least a few others like it in the same lot of budded plants. Thanks, Robert

Here is a suggestion. Go to the American Rose Society’s site where the application for international rose listing is found and email them with the question of whether they are aware of sports from your rose having been listed already to the registry. I hope the information on the listing is sophisticated enough to include this information for you.


Thanks, George. I’ve dealt with those folks before, and I’m afraid that it might not be set up for that kind of inquiry. I’ll look into it though.