Complete Guide to Plant Breeding Protection: 11 Key Questions Answered

25. March 2024

Plant varieties are the backbone of agriculture and horticulture, providing the diversity necessary for food security, environmental sustainability, and economic prosperity. They result from the selective breeding and genetic improvement of plants, aimed at enhancing yield, resilience to diseases and pests, and nutritional values, among other traits. Protecting these varieties through intellectual property rights incentivizes innovation, rewards breeders’ efforts, and ensures that our agricultural systems continue to evolve to meet the challenges of climate change and global food demands. Here’s everything you need to know about securing and understanding plant breeding rights, with comprehensive insights into plant variety protection (PVP).

1) I just created a new variety of a plant, do I have protection as a breeder?

Yes, breeders who develop or create a new plant variety can request recognition through a plant breeder’s right application. This step is critical for securing your innovative contributions to the field.

Key Points:

  1. Filing a Plant Breeder’s Right Application: This should be done with the corresponding authority in each country where protection is sought.
  2. Recognition of Your Efforts: It formally acknowledges your contribution to developing new, improved plant varieties.

2) How do countries recognize my right over the variety?

Countries grant a Plant Breeder’s Right Title, recognizing the individual or entity who, through a breeding process, has developed a new plant variety.

Process Overview:

  1. Granting Authority: The title is issued by a national or regional authority dedicated to plant variety protection.
  2. Legal Recognition: This title legally recognizes your exclusive rights over the new variety.

3) What are the rights that I obtain once my ownership over the variety is recognized through the title issued by the National Authority?

The main right granted is exclusive exploitation of the new variety, including but not limited to:

Exclusive Rights:

  1. Cultivation and Reproduction: The right to exclusively cultivate and reproduce the new variety.
  2. Selling and Distribution: Control over the selling and distribution of your plant variety.
  3. Protection Against Unauthorized Use: The ability to take legal action against any unauthorized cultivation, reproduction, or sale of your variety.

4) What is the purpose of protecting PV rights?

The protection aims to:

  1. Encourage Innovation: By providing legal and financial incentives for the development of new varieties.
  2. Reward Breeders: Acknowledging their contribution to agricultural advancements.
  3. Promote Agricultural Diversity: Ensuring a wide range of plant varieties for future breeding endeavors.

5) Considering that my right is temporarily protected, what is the extension of time?

The duration of protection varies, but typically ranges from 15 to 25 years, depending on:

  1. Country-specific Legislation: The exact duration can vary based on local laws and the type of UPOV act adhered to.
  2. Type of Variety: Different durations may apply based on the plant species and variety characteristics.

6) How is the procedure before the National Authorities?

The application process involves several steps:

  1. Filing Requirements: Ensuring the application meets both administrative and substantive criteria.
  2. Review and Approval: The authority reviews the application and, upon confirmation of requirements, grants the exclusive right.

7) What are the administrative requirements that must be complied with by the applicant?

Applicants must provide comprehensive information, including:

  1. Applicant and Breeder Information: Names, addresses, and nationalities.
  2. Variety Details: Common and scientific names, proposed names, and a detailed varietal description.
  3. Origin of the Variety: Information on the genetic and geographical origins.

8) What are the substantive requirements that must be complied with?

The variety must exhibit:

  1. Novelty and Distinctiveness: It must be new and distinct from existing varieties.
  2. Uniformity and Stability: Consistent expression of traits and stability over successive generations.

9) Does the application procedure have a cost?

Yes, there are fees associated with the application process, including:
Official Fees: Application fee, publication fee, and possibly a DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity, Stability) test fee.

10) Can I commercialize the variety?

Commercialization is subject to:
Country Regulations: Legal frameworks vary, affecting the ability to commercialize.
Certification: Obtaining the necessary certificates for commercialization.

11) I want to protect my variety in more than one country, could I file multiple applications?

Yes, it’s possible and often advisable to file applications in various countries to ensure comprehensive protection of your plant variety. Important considerations include:

  1. International Frameworks: Understanding the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) systems and agreements such as the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).
  2. Strategic Filing: Timing and strategy are crucial, especially considering the novelty requirement. The first commercialization or application can impact subsequent filings in other countries.

If you’re seeking personalized advice on plant variety protection, Moeller IP Advisors has an extensive network of professionals worldwide to assist with your needs. We’re here to guide you through every step of the process, from application to commercialization, ensuring your plant breeding innovations are fully protected. Contact us at,

At Moeller IP Advisors, we understand that navigating the complexities of intellectual property in the dynamic and diverse landscape of emerging markets can be daunting. That’s why we’re committed to making IP easy to navigate for our clients, offering a complete range of Intellectual Property and Regulatory Affairs services with a wealth of experience at your disposal.


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