Novelty Protection

  • Committee for Novelty Protection

    Chairman: Mr. Bernard Oosterom (VBN, The Netherlands)
    Secretary: Ms. Mia Hopperus Buma (AIPH, The Netherlands)

    Through our Committee for Novelty Protection we advocate fair and robust plant breeders’ rights (PBR), encouraging innovation and rewarding quality, so that growers can reap the benefits of their work.

    Importance of Plant breeders right (PBR)

    Through our Committee for Novelty Protection we advocate a good working and strong plant breeders’ rights (PBR) system, encouraging innovation through good breeding work and rewarding quality of the propagating material, so that new varieties will be produced and will be available for growers and farmers. The availability of new varieties is very important, for society but also for breeders, growers and farmers. Think of new varieties with disease resistance or herbicide resistance, plants which need less water or can be produced in other climate zones. We as growers share the interest of a good working PBR system with the breeders and this large common interest is AIPH’s basis for consultation with the breeders and their associations such as CIOPORA, ISF, ESA and Plantum. PBR has to be exercised and enforced in balance with the interests of all parties involved, this means breeders, multipliers, growers, producers, traders, retail and even consumers.

    Good working and balanced PBR system

    Developments in the field of plant breeder’s rights are moving fast. More and more countries are realising that a strong ornamental plant sector is impossible without having a strong and balanced PBR system in place. That’s why AIPH is encouraging countries to accelerate the implementation of breeder’s rights and to bring their legislation into line with the UPOV-convention 1991, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. It is very important for breeders, multipliers, but also for growers and farmers that there is clearness how the PBR system works and how to use it in their own daily business.

    Relation growers and breeders

    To improve the position and understanding of growers we supply a checklist for breeder and grower to make a license agreement for the commercial exploitation of protected plant varieties. This checklist helps growers and breeders to understand their position by explaining definitions and the different types of legislation used in the contracts. It also supports clear use of the several commercial marks as variety indication in the sector.

    We strive to ensure that breeders do not misuse their position as owners of the intellectual property rights. New varieties are not always accessible to other growers through the use of exclusivity contracts and control of access to propagating material. It is very important for growers and farmers that they are supplied with propagating material from the breeders in time, in the desired/sufficient quantity and at reasonable and equal prices.


    In ensuring balanced rights for breeders we maintain relations with other organisations in the field, including the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) of the EU and Ciopora, the International Association of Plants Breeders. In line with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) – convention 1991, we also drive lobbying to maintain the rights of growers and to resist legislation that would reduce innovation in the sector.

    Since the use of biotechnology in plant breeding, the horticultural sector has to deal with the use of patent rights besides the use of PBR as well. In particular, the open source system that all the existing varieties can be used free for further breeding, which principle is the cornerstone of the PBR system, has come under pressure by the arrival of patent rights. The sector expects negative consequences from this for optimal breeding and innovation of propagating material. Therefor the next coming years the biggest challenge for the sector is to find the solution how and by which system is breeding innovation best stimulated. We as growers take our responsibility and support the industry by bringing solutions to find a new balance between breeders’ rights and patents, so that this will stimulate future breeding innovation.

    Sparring Partner Group (SPG)

    To be able to do all this work in the PBR field, the Sparring Partner Group (SPG) of the Committee for Novelty Protection, is constantly informed about the latest developments, the juridical consequences and possible solutions by the Secretary. Thanks to these exchanges, discussions and better understanding and awareness of the importance of PBR and of the other fields of intellectual property right, we are able to support a good working PBR system at both the national and international level and to contribute to future solutions and new balances.

    • Download the checklist for breeder and grower to make a license agreement for the commercial exploitation of protected plant varieties.