Protecting plant varieties in Brazil

This article discusses the recent developments within the Brazilian legal framework for Plant Variety Protection (PVP) and provides a comprehensive overview of Brazil’s ornamentals market and PVP. It is written by Priscila Mayumi Kashiwabara, partner, Head of Life Sciences Patent Team at Kasznar Leonardos.

Priscila Mayumi Kashiwabara, partner, Head of Life Sciences Patent Team, at Kasznar Leonardos

The Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act No. 9,456 came into force in Brazil on 25 April 1997, ratifying the option of using a sui generis protection mechanism for protecting plants. Such law is regulated by Decree No. 2,366 of 5 November 1997.

In addition to the implementation of the PVP Act, the National Congress approved, through Legislative Decree No. 28 of 19 April 1999, the text of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, as Act of 1978, later promulgated by Decree No. 3,109 of 30 June 1999.

The National Plant Variety Protection Service (SNPC)

The National Plant Variety Protection Service (SNPC) is the Brazilian agency responsible for managing administrative and technical aspects related to PVP protection under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA).

The Brazilian PVP Law defines that it is liable to protect a plant variety or an essentially derived plant variety that meets the requirements of novelty, distinctiveness, homogeneity, stability and proper denomination.

The SNPC must establish the species’ minimum descriptors (DUS test guidelines) to be protected.

The protection of intellectual property rights regarding plant varieties is granted through a PVP certificate.

It has a time limit of 15 years counted from the date of granting of the Provisional Certificate of Protection for plant varieties in general, except for grapevines, fruit trees, and ornamental trees, including in each case, the rootstock thereof, for which the term of protection is 18 years.

What falls under the scope of protection?

The protection ensures the holder of the right to commercially reproduce the variety in the Brazilian territory and excludes non-authorised third parties from reproducing for commercial purposes, offering for sale or commercialising the propagation material of the plant variety.
So, the scope of protection of a plant variety falls upon the reproduction or vegetative multiplication materials of the whole plant (seeds, seedlings, tubers, cuttings, sprouts and clones).

The Brazilian PVP Act also establishes exemptions to the rights related to the own use, use of the plant variety as a source of variation to obtain other varieties or for research purposes and use by small farmers.

Finally, the PVP Act defines the sanctions applicable to the infringer of the rights of a protected plant variety.

The ornamental plant market

Implementation of the PVP Act in Brazil provided opportunities for innovative horticultural companies seeking PVP in one of the world’s largest economies.

The ornamental plant market is expanding worldwide. Its major characteristics are the dynamism and the demands imposed by the consumer in terms of innovations in cultivated varieties.

The global ornamentals market is expected to reach USD 72.530 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 6.3 per cent from 2021 to 2027.¹

In Brazil, the tendency is not different. Although the Brazilian market may still be considered incipient compared to other highly developed and traditional markets, like Europe, Japan and US, the flower and ornamental plant business is becoming consistently more relevant within the national agribusiness.

According to data from IBRAFLOR² (Brazilian Institute of Floriculture), the sector has been showing constant revenue growth over the years, increasing from R$ 4.8 billion (~USD 988 million) in 2012 to R$ 10.9 billion ( ~USD 2.250 billion) in 2021.

To date, Brazil occupies the 15th position among the major flower producers.

Brazil does not have a relevant ornamental plant breeding industry yet and is highly dependent on innovations developed by the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and the United States. Annually, dozens of new varieties are introduced in the Brazilian market.

In this scenario, the enactment of the PVP Law in 1997 has been an important factor in attracting the entry of technology and innovations related to new ornamental plants in Brazil, as can be depicted by the increase of PVP applications from 2002 (Figure 1, below).

Figure 1: Applications for protection of ornamentals per year (blue) and titles granted per year (orange). Source: SNPC.

Analysing DUS examination

To date, DUS test guidelines are available for 58 species of ornamental and flower species. According to the SNPC, they correspond to 20 per cent of all protected varieties.

There is a positive correlation between the main species produced and marketed in the country and the number of protected varieties: the most notable species are Chrysanthemum (21 per cent of the total ornamental protected varieties), roses (19 per cent), Anthurium (10 per cent), Kalanchoe (9 per cent), orchids (Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, Vanda, Cymbidium, Dendrobium – 8.8 per cent) and Alstroemeria (7.8 per cent).

The implementation of the PVP Act in Brazil has contributed to the country’s alignment with the main trends of the commercial floriculture industry, making the national domestic market more attractive to the launches and innovations in genetic research by the leading international breeders. It provides opportunities for innovative horticultural companies seeking PVP in one of the world’s largest economies.

This article was first published in June 2022 FloraCulture International.

1. Global Flower and Ornamental Plants Market Outlook 2022, published on 5 January 2022, Absolute Reports) (accessed on 25 May 2022)

2. Microsoft Word – Release Estatísticas Imprensa IBRAFLOR 01.2022 (accessed on 25 May 2022).

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