Twenty-first century agricultural issues require more effort, innovation and creativity than ever before. A growing global population needs more harvested food from less available fertile lands. Breeding companies are constantly looking for new plant variations, with more yield, resistance to diseases and pests, and the ability to grow in difficult conditions. There are companies that understand the social needs and interests in these new plant varieties. To meet the public demand for these new plants it takes years of research and investment.  

To get a return on these investments a plant breeders' rights system has been established. It's a form of intellectual property that protects developed plant material. It grants the holder of the plant breeders' rights the sole right to market the variety exclusively or to license or sell the propagating materials, the seed and seedlings. Thereby allowing other breeding companies to continue to invest in the development of new breeds in the future as well. The main strength of the plant breeders' rights is that it offers room for open innovation. Breeding companies can take licensed varieties as the basis for new breed development. As a result the best properties of existing plants are combined with new developed properties, which lead to innovations and the output of high quality products. 

Anyone can apply for plant breeders' rights. Typically each country will have institutions or national offices with their own set of criteria and protocols to judge a variety worthy of rights designation. A new variety needs to be sufficiently distinct from existing varieties before rights can be granted. There are also requirements that look at the variety's uniformity and stability. The seeds will be grown and studied in greenhouses or trial fields; throughout stages of growth, from seed and up to flowering. Plant descriptions and a new breed's DNA will be studied and compared with existing plant databases to ensure that there are no infringements on existing breeds. Once the morphological characteristics of a variety are recorded and authenticated, plants breeder's rights can be granted.

Plant breeder's rights are vital for business, by protecting a breeder's intellectual property and creating unique positions in the market. Without plant breeders' rights a monopolization of varietal properties and consolidation of breeding companies, would equal less choices for consumers. 

Contact us to learn how to achieve plant breeder's rights. We can help with an intellectual property assessment and conduct validity studies, and progress on through the prosecution of a rights' applications before institutions worldwide. With our counsel we can insure your varietal property can grow from a seedling to a prosperous harvest. 

Comment