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Plant Breeders' Rights

Plant Breeders' Rights offers legal protection for the investment plant breeders make in breeding and developing new varieties. This service is open to breeders of any species of plant; agricultural, horticultural and ornamental.

Breeders can choose whether or not to apply for plant breeders' rights, which enable them to charge royalties for protected varieties. Royalties provide a means for breeding companies to fund their work.

A general Information Guide to Plant Breeders' Rights (PBR) is available. However, for full compliance with PBR procedures you should always refer to the appropriate Regulations (see information guide). Also available is a more detailed booklet: Guide to the Plant Varieties Act 1997.

Plant Breeders' Rights are a form of intellectual property designed specifically to protect new varieties of plants. They entitle the holder to prevent anyone doing the following acts to propagating material without authority:

  • production or reproduction (multiplication)
  • selling or other marketing
  • conditioning for the purpose of propagation
  • offering for sale
  • exporting/importing
  • stocking for any of the purposes mentioned above
  • any other act that may be prescribed by the provisions of the Plant Varieties Act 1997

If you hold the rights you may authorise others to carry out these acts on whatever terms and conditions you wish to impose, subject to the safeguard of compulsory licensing.

Rights may also extend to harvested material obtained from the unauthorised use of propagating material, but only where the holder has not had reasonable opportunity to exercise rights. Plant Breeders' Rights do not extend to any act done for private and non-commercial purposes, for experimental purposes or for the purpose of breeding another variety.

As a holder of PBR you also have the above rights for any variety which is dependent on the protected variety such as hybrid or an essentially derived variety.

Variety denominations under the UPOV Convention

The guidelines to the naming of plant varieties can be found in Explanatory Notes on Variety Denominations under the UPOV Convention - UPOV/INF/12/3 - adopted by the Council on 21 October 2010.