Seed World

International PBR Standard Proposed

Three international seed organizations are advocating for an international system of cooperation (ISC) for plant breeders’ rights.
The International Seed Federation (ISF), CropLife International (CLI) and the International Community of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Ornamental and Fruit Varieties (CIOPORA) have submitted a joint paper to the UPOV Consultative Committee proposing the idea.
An ISC would build on the current UPOV system by increasing its accessibility to plant breeders worldwide and helping them to overcome the obstacles they face in securing Intellectual Property (IP) rights in UPOV member states, the three groups say. Member surveys by ISF, CLI and CIOPORA showed that deviation from national application procedures, multiple language regimes, cost and time were the main obstacles.
An ISC would enable breeders to file PBR applications in various markets via a simplified and unified procedure, creating advantages for breeders and maximizing the effectiveness of the UPOV system, according to the groups.
The system is not envisioned to replace local PBR laws, and each jurisdiction would still maintain complete sovereignty in their application process. It is also expected that the ease of filing would increase the number of PBR applications in most, if not all, countries. Studies show that an effective UPOV-like system for PBR benefits farmers too by introducing new foreign varieties; increasing the number of domestic bred varieties; improving characteristics of varieties in certain crops; and increasing availability of crops. Without an effective PBR system or a suitable form of protection for plant varieties, there is restricted availability of new and improved varieties to farmers, especially small-scale and subsistence farmers.
The issue will will be on the agenda of the 90th meeting of the UPOV Consultative Committee in October 2015.