PBR in relation to harvested material

Mia Buma is Ornamentals Production Advisor to AIPH, wrote in the July-August 2021 edition of FloraCulture International magazine.

AIPH’s Novelty Protection Group advocates fair and robust plant breeders’ rights (PBR), thereby encouraging innovation and rewarding quality so that growers can reap the benefits of their work. Mia Buma advises AIPH on the latest developments and contributes significantly to our ability to keep AIPH members informed and represented. This brief outline of recent activities shows the importance of this group and the influence that AIPH has in this sector.

On 27 May, the UPOV digital seminar on the breeder’s right in relation to harvested material took place. The convention contributed to a better understanding of the main principles of the breeder’s right. In summary, there were three points of focus.

1. How does the lack of effective protection on the harvested material impact growers and consumers?

Evidence was presented at the seminar that the lack of effective protection for new varieties of fruit trees before the grant of breeders’ rights could inhibit the early introduction of new and improved varieties, thus reducing the benefits of those varieties for growers and consumers and, therefore, society as a whole. Furthermore, if breeders do not have adequate protection to recover the investment in breeding, improved varieties might not be developed at all.

2. What are the main challenges in exercising the breeder’s right concerning harvested material?

A common area of concern is the lack of predictability concerning the breeder’s right to the harvested material.
For certain species, trees, once planted, can produce fruits for many years. Therefore, a minimum scope of provisional protection and a narrow interpretation of “unauthorised use of propagating material” may not provide the means for the breeders to exercise and enforce their right concerning the growth of the plants and producing and selling of the fruit.

3. At the level of UPOV: what solutions do you see for those challenges in the exercise of the breeder’s right concerning the harvested material?

Clear indication from presentations and discussions that guidance in the explanatory notes on harvested material would benefit further clarification.
Mr Tjeerd Overdijk, who was proposed by AIPH (and accepted by the UPOV-staff) to be one of the seminar speakers, made it clear to the attendants that the text of Convention 1991 provides sufficient basis for such amendment of the Explanatory Notes (EXN) on harvested material. Better protection for the breeder in unfair situations, achieved by formulating more valuable and clearer EXN’s, would be supported by AIPH.

For more in-depth information on novelty protection, join the AIPH Novelty Protection Sparring Partner Group (SPG). The SPG receives detailed notes and updates about novelty protection and has the opportunity to contribute to formal AIPH responses to matters arising. Contact Audrey Timm, Technical Advisor to AIPH, for more information audrey.timm@aiph.org

For more industry stories, read the latest edition of FloraCulture International.

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