Bug Perfume from Tobacco Plants, a Battle for Rare Seeds and More
Love in the Air from Engineered Tobacco
Groundbreaking new research from Earlham Institute has resulted in a genetically engineered tobacco plants that produces moth sex pheromones, paving the way to a less expensive and “greener” method of controlling damaging insect pests in crops. The research developed DNA sequences that mimics the production of sex pheromones in Nicotiana benthamiana, a species of tobacco. An important goal of the research was regulating production of the pheromones because as the plants increased efficiency in pheromone production, energy was diverted away from plant growth. By using copper sulfate, the researchers were able to fine tune gene expression and even “carefully control the production of different pheromone components, allowing them to tweak the cocktail to better suit specific moth species” such as navel orangeworm and cotton bollworm moths. The hope is to use the engineered plants as “factories” needing only sunlight and water to replace chemically synthesized pheromones, providing a new and more sustainable method of pest control.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Sues to Protect “Rareseeds” trademark
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds recently filed a pair of lawsuits alleging infringement of its “Rareseeds” trademark. Baker Creek was founded in 1998 by Jere Gettle to collect and sell rare and heirloom varieties of vegetables, flowers, herbs and other garden plants. According to Baker Creek’s complaints, it began using the trademark “rareseeds” and the domain name “rareseeds.com” when it started its seed business in 1998. In 2020 Baker Creek applied to register “rareseeds” as a trademark for online advertising of seeds, live plants and gardening products which was granted in 2021.
Both cases were filed in federal court in Missouri, one against a California company named “Buy Rare Seeds, Inc.” and another against a Maryland company called “Rare Seed House.” The complaints in each case involve the defendants’ registration and use of internet domains incorporating some variation of “rareseeds.” The California company uses the domain names “buyrareseeds.com” and “buy-rare-seeds.com,” while the Maryland company uses the domain name “rareseedhouse.com.” The complaints allege that the defendants acquired their domain names to redirect online customers from Baker Creek and use the term “rare seeds” in various marketing efforts, including Facebook, Etsy, and Amazon. Baker Creek’s complaints asserts claims for cybersquatting, unfair competition, trademark infringement and dilution. You can read more here.