Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Chris Holly spent his summers working in the agriculture industry and developed a passion for the sector. He credits his first real job as a “spot sprayer” on a large cotton and soybean farm — so he’s been in the industry a long time!
But it wasn’t until he graduated from college that he turned his interest in agriculture into a bigger business in the state of Mississippi, where he earned a doctorate for his USDA-sponsored research. – and he continued to follow his passion even in his legal life. , where he is now a partner at global law firm Cooley LLP and co-leads the AgTech patent practice.
“I spend my time advising cutting-edge companies and sustainability leaders who are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in agriculture, synthetic biology, food microbiology and biotechnology,” says Holly, one of Seed World’s Top 10 Next Gen Leaders. “My goal is to help disruptive startups in these industries build and leverage strong IP portfolios, carve out valuable IP space, monetize IP assets, and position themselves for acquisition, IPO or a successful commercial launch.”
Three things make the industry unique for him: innovation and the constant desire to keep evolving; commitment to its mission to feed the world’s population; and integrity – the seed industry is so intertwined and every company has a lot of respect for each other, even as they compete.
But remember: even though we treat competitors like family, intellectual property (IP) protection is still important to drive innovation, says Holly.
“Protecting intellectual property is how seed companies protect the time, effort and expense of innovation,” he says. “Our industry faces one of the most important and humble missions imaginable, to feed the world. The innovation needed to fulfill this mission must be robust, and intellectual property protection facilitates and enables private companies to make such investments.
Want to know more about our Top 10? Check:
Anya Gandy takes sustainability to the next level
Magan Lewis creates sparks in those around her
Seed World Announces Top 10 Next-Gen Leaders of 2022
Jordan Cremer says building trust is key to working with clients
Catherine Frans engages with independent seed companies