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European Community Plant Variety Rights
4 June 2012

European Plant Protection – the Community Plant Variety Right: More Breeders Are Taking Advantage of this Plant Protection System

One great way to leverage your time and money is to file one plant breeders rights application that will provide rights to 27 different countries if it is approved.  The European Union offers just such protection and their reporting of a 10% increase in application filings for 2011 indicates that the breeding industry is taking advantage of the ease of filing in this system rather than focusing on individual national applications.

For the purposes of this website, the term PBR is used generically for all breeder rights that follow the protocol of UPOV (the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, which is the treaty that establishes the criteria and rights for plant varieties). This includes our reference to PVP (plant variety protection) and CPVR (Community Plant Variety Rights – unique to Europe).

This does not mean that in reality each country that adopts the UPOV provisions offers exactly the same kinds of rights and level of protection. A European CPVR may differ in levels of plant protection and application process than say, from a PBR in South Africa, so it is important to look at each country you are interested in receiving protection in to make sure the particular PBR protection you think you are getting is what you need to commercially protect your invention in a particular country. However, generally speaking and for most commercial business purposes; the rights a breeder receives through a PBR grant will meet their goals of protection.

The CPVO usually requires plant material to be sent to Europe and tested for at least two years (or two growing seasons) in order for the examiners to confirm that the new variety exhibits the characteristics the breeder applicant says it does.  For purposes of increasing efficiency, the CPVO is experimenting with growing two individual plots simultaneously in an effort to shorten the examination process.

The CPVO has also demonstrated their support for their applicants by committing to a reduction in the application fee from 900 Euro to 650 Euro.  Unlike what we saw here in the US when the United States Patent and Trademark Office increased their fees at the end of 2011, the CPVO is encouraging companies to seek out more protection by lowering costs.

Allison of GRIPS (GReen Idea Protection Strategies) has been working with procedural representatives in Europe to file CPVR applications and while the CPVO is trying to streamline the process and ease the burden of the application process not only for the examiner, but also for the applicant, she's run into several complications in the application process that can delay an applicant going through the DUS (Distinctiveness, Uniformity, and Stability critieria required under the UPOV treaty) testing. The good news for her clients is that she can educate them on what some of the pitfalls and challenges can be and with proper planning, the CPVR application process can be a lot easier.

Something to Keep in Mind – Planning Ahead:

Some PBR applications do not require additional payment of fees between the time you file and either the publication or granting of rights. European pbr applications; however, have technical examination fees that occur annually until the final DUS report is issued. These fees can approach or exceed $ 1,000 USD annually, so keep that in mind when you are planning your application process. Additionally, as is the case for most other countries, annual fees to maintain rights will be required for the duration of protection by the granted application. > Plant Protection > European Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVR)
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Allison Frederick
Plant Breeders Rights
Specialist & Agent is a plant variety protection resource guide designed specifically for those in the horticulture industry and floriculture industry who are interested in protecting their plants in the global market. The details posted in this site are for information only to serve as a guide for effective business planning and implementation and does not serve as legal advice. 

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