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What May Be Missing from Your Portfolio that's Preventing You from Selling Internationally

Registering Seed vs. Plant Variety Protection

Congratulations. You received a grant for a Plant Breeder's Rights application in a foreign country and now you are ready to sell your protected plants, right? Not so fast.  Many businesses don't realize that a Plant Breeder's Right does not at all grant permission to sell your plants or seed commercially.

There is still an important piece missing:  The Plant or Seed Registration process.   

The seed registration process differs from the plant variety protection process and the requirements are managed by different government organizations. Just because you have a granted plant variety right does not mean that you have the right to sell your plant in the respective country.

Requirements for Seed Registration are often easier to comply with than in the Plant Variety Protection process, but finding out the details of the requirements for each country you intend to sell in are often much more difficult.

Each country has its own rules, which may include trial variety testing, although, for example, many European countries are working together to streamline this process and reduce the burden for companies.

Another important consideration is that the rules are changing quickly as countries rush to protect their own agricultural interests from outside companies.  Take Germany for example. Sorghum seed used to be unregulated in German markets, probably because few companies were developing sorghum, but because of Germany's inclusion in the European Union, they are now required to specify regulations for this crop.  A country's rules may change while you are developing your market and making your plans so it is important to establish a good relationship with an agent who can keep up with new regulations so that you don't risk wasting time, money, and other valuable resources.

Importation Restrictions

In some countries, such as Columbia (as of the date of this writing), some types of seed do not need to be registered before they are sold in the country but they must be authorized for importation. The process for "authorized for importation" may be similar to registration in many ways.

Some countries restrict the amount of plant material that can be imported into their country and this can make international business challenging.  Sometimes the amounts are restricted to such low levels that a plant must be imported and then grown out for several years to reach the levels necessary for successful examination.  This is the case (at the time of this writing) in Japan as it relates to the importation of potato tubers.

Biofuel and genetically modified crops are often paving new ground and forcing countries to develop new laws that didn't exist before because so few people were working with these particular varieties.  Some countries may require a risk evaluation to assess the environmental impact of a crop in their environment and other countries, like Australia, are very proactive in identifying potentially invasive species.  Phyto-sanitary certificates are also required to certify the health of the imported seed.

We can help your company navigate through this complicated process with the help of our great network of agents throughout the world.

Seed Registration and Importation
International Plant Breeders Rights
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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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