This chapter offers a preliminary answer, emphasizing the extent to which different paths of agricultural development, and experiences of the Great War, shaped the social, political and moral contexts of plant breeding in each country. The absence of IP rights in British plants, prior to the introduction of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, has received little attention. The chapter supplements these analyses and develops a new line of enquiry into the history of patenting life by offering an explanation for the absence of plant patents in 1930s Britain. Viewed from this angle, Britain is an ideal case study of a country in which plant patents were not enacted. If historically, both private and public enterprise has been called on to serve the nation, in Britain, plant breeding was seen as an activity to be conducted by the state, and one too important to the nation to be the subject of individual profit.