Saturday, November 3, 2007

Plant breeders' rights, also known as plant variety rights (PVR), are intellectual property rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant.
These laws typically grant the plant breeder control of the propagation material (including seed, cuttings, divisions, tissue culture) and harvested material (cut flowers, fruit, foliage) of a new variety and the right to collect royalties for a number of years. This can provide income for the breeder to cover the costs of research and development. The purchase of protected varieties gives farmers the benefits of superior varieties. In return, farmers are expected to pay a small royalty, included in the purchase price, and not sell the seed that they produce. Farmers may store the production in their own bins for their own use as seed, but further sales for propagation purposes are not allowed without the written approval of the breeder. Violations of Plant Breeders' Rights can result in litigation and court-ordered restitution to the breeder.
Plant breeders' rights contain a wider array of exceptions than the general regime of patent law. Commonly, there is a defence for farm-saved seed. However, this does not necessarily extend to brown-bag sales of seed. There is also a breeders' exemption, that allows breeders to use protected varieties as sources of initial variation to produce new varieties of plants. There is also scope for compulsory licensing to allow public access to new varieties.
There is much tension over the interaction between patent law and plant breeder's rights. There has been much litigation in Australia, the United States, and Canada over the overlap between such rights. See: Matthew Rimmer. "Franklin Barley: Patent Law And Plant Breeders' Rights", Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, December 2003, Vol. 10, No. 4, URL:

Geographical indication
Industrial design rights
Trade secrets
Related rights
Domain names
Database rights
Mask work
Plant breeders' rights
Supplementary protection certificate
Traditional knowledge Plant breeders' rights Roundup®

Plant breeding
Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO)
International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)
Plant Variety Protection Act (U.S.)