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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between TraitAbility and ILP?

TraitAbility is different from ILP in several ways. First of all TraitAbility is reaching out to all our potential collaborators (academic and commercial) and not only ILP members. Secondly, TraitAbility provides more information and access to Syngenta materials and know-how which will ensure efficient use and implementation of the offered IP.

Why are you doing this?

We understand that license negotiations can be time and resource intensive. Therefore, we have set up an efficient, facilitated licensing process for researchers and plant breeders to access our patented Native Traits and Enabling Technologies under transparent, FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms. No negotiation is necessary, thereby reducing transactional costs for all parties. We are proud to offer this new system, which we believe is practical, progressive and important in meeting the needs of modern plant research and breeding.

Who benefits from this system?

We all benefit. Scientists and breeders benefit from straightforward, quick and easy access to our patented Native Traits and Enabling Technologies. Syngenta benefits from the increased dissemination and use of our patented innovations, as well as reduced transactional costs associated with license negotiations. And equally important, farmers and consumers benefit, as our innovations can be used to develop better varieties that increase yields, protect against pest and diseases, and provide other attributes like enhanced flavor, size, etc.

How does e-licensing work?

  1. Licensing our patented Native Traits and Enabling Technologies is simple:
  2. Search our catalog of Native Traits and Enabling Technologies on this website. You will in general also find information on the standard financial terms, the patent status and the list of commercial Syngenta varieties that contain the patented Native Traits.
  3.  If you find a trait or technology you are interested in licensing, click on the "Get a license" button, and fill out the form and submit.
  4. Syngenta will follow up on your request and/or send a hard copy to you.
  5. Once the contract is signed by you and counter-signed by Syngenta, you can start breeding with the Native Trait or use the Enabling Technology in your research programs.

How long will it take from generating a contract to being able to use the patented innovation?

We cannot guarantee exact timing, but all efforts are made to finalize signing hard copies of the license agreement within 2 to 3 weeks.

Will you accept all parties wanting a contract?

Our primary objective is to disseminate our patented Native Traits and Enabling Technologies broadly to interested parties. However, under certain circumstances, including but not limited to concerns related to liability or stewardship, license contracts may be declined. If this happens, the reasons will be made transparent.

What is the reason that it is not possible to license Enabling Technology in the People's Republic of China?

The People's Republic of China has special regulations regarding the import and export of technology which impacts license agreements with Chinese entities. Any license relating to plant biotechnology and involving a Chinese entity is subject to review by the Chinese authorities and can only enter into effect upon approval. In consequence a standard license is not possible.

What is your view on stacking multiple Native Traits?

At the moment we don't see the need to handle differently the case of multiple Native Traits stacked in one variety, as the number of patents available per species is often one only. This may change in the future as the industry practices evolve.

Can I get a discount when licensing multiple Enabling Technologies simultaneously?

Yes, there is a discount on the license fees paid to Syngenta, for Enabling Technologies. A licensee having 2 licenses will receive 25% discount on each license. A licensee having 3 or more licenses eligible for a discount of 35% on each of the license fees actually paid to Syngenta.

What happens in case a specific Enabling Technology is covered by multiple Syngenta patents?

When a specific Enabling Technology is covered by 2 or more related patents or patent applications, the Syngenta license includes them in a single agreement.

Are you only licensing patents that have already been granted?

Most technologies/traits presented on this website are patented, i.e. protected by a granted patent or a published patent application in at least one country. This information is available in the "Patent status" field on the page of each trait/technology.

Do you also offer the know-how to use your technologies?

Transfer of know-how, markers or biological material is not part of the standard license agreement. However, as indicated for the Native Traits this can be agreed separately.

Does the license also cover past use of material with the patented trait?

No, the license obtained through our e-license system provides access for breeding and development from the effective date of the license contract onwards. In case of 'past use' a licensee may also obtain a license, but this requires a separate bilateral agreement.

What happens to the improvements a licensee makes on the licensed technology?

Improvements remain the sole property of the licensee. A non-assert clause present in the licensing agreement means that a licensee cannot block or sue Syngenta regarding the commercial use of improved technology. The grant back clause entitles Syngenta to use improvements for internal use only.

Do you also enter into bilateral agreements?

The offer in our standard license agreement represents the most cost-effective option available. We implement the terms on non-discriminatory terms, therefore more favorable conditions are not available by contacting us outside of the e-licensing system. However, bilateral agreements may be used in specific cases when a deal entails more than a monetary retribution.

How do you determine which Class category an Enabling Technology falls into?

For Enabling Technology the classification A or B is based on the technology maturity level and/or commercial value of the patent or patent application.

Why is the license fee structure for Enabling Technology dependent on entity size?

Taking the entity size into account for defining the financial terms (i.e. signature fee and annual maintenance fee) is part of Syngenta’s approach to offer FRAND terms to our licensees. The ability of the entity to commercially benefit from the use of our technology is a key aspect of our license fee structure.

How can I be sure the terms are FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory)?

The license agreement provides a "most favored royalty terms" guarantee. For detailed information, please see details of the standard license agreement.

Are there plans to offer more patents than the ones currently listed?

As more varieties with patented Native Traits are commercialized, the number of available traits will increase. We will continue to explore the possibility of including patented Native Traits from other crops, as well as more Enabling Technologies.

Are other companies doing this?

A new business association, the International Licensing Platform Vegetable (ILP), was established in 2014 to improve global access to and use of plant breeding innovations for vegetables. The eleven founding companies, which comprise both listed companies and family businesses from Switzerland, Germany, Japan, France and the Netherlands, have worked together to establish the ILP with an aim to provide plant breeders around the world with faster, more efficient and cost effective, guaranteed access to crucial biological material that is currently covered by patent claims by ILP members. The ILP provides a straightforward way for vegetable breeders to license the latest innovative traits they need at a fair and reasonable cost so they can bring new products to the market that meet consumer demands and help the world address food security. For more info visit: