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The protection of new plant varieties is another aspect of intellectual property rights,

seeks to acknowledge the achievements of breeders of new plant varieties by giving them, for a limited period, an exclusive right.


What is UPOV ?

is an acronym derived from the French name for the organization, Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales.


Why protect new varieties of plants?

Protection is available to a new variety of plants to safeguard the interests of plant breeders as an incentive to the development of improved plant varieties for agriculture, horticulture and forestry. Improved varieties are a necessary and a very cost-effective element in the improvement of the performance and quality of plants of all types.


How can new plants be protected?

The TRIPS agreement allows three types of protection:
1. Through the patent mechanism
2. Through a special (“sui generis”) system related to plants
3. Or through a combination of both

There is a widely held view that most new plant varieties do not satisfy the non-obvious requirement of a system of patent protection, since they result from activities undertaken with known objectives, and using known technology. This means that using the patent laws system could be difficult. Therefore, most countries tend to have a special (“sui generis ”) system for the protection of plant varieties.


What is the purpose of protecting the rights of plant breeders?

To ensure that the supply of seeds remains pure and uncorrupted. is related to quality control of the production of the seed and plants.


What are the characteristics of a new plant variety that would enable it to be protected?

Under the 1991 Act of the UPOVConvention the variety should be:
1. New (or novel)
2. Distinct
3. Uniform
4. Stable and
5. Have a satisfactory denomination

The novelty requirement serves to ensure that the variety has not already been exploited commercially. This is strictly a legal assessment and not a technical assessment. The variety is also required to be designated by a denomination, which will be its generic designation. There are three technical assessments: distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS). Let’s look at each one of these in turn.


What is distinctness ?

The variety shall be distinct. if it is clearly distinguishable from any other variety, whose existence is a matter of common knowledge, at the time of filling the application.


What is uniformity ?

The variety shall be uniform. this means that the plants of a variety should all be the same or very similar, with the degree of similarity depending on the nature of the propagation method.


What is stability ?

The variety shall be stable. in short is that the variety should remain the same over a period of repeated propagation from seeds or other methods.


What rights does the holder of protection have?

Under the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention covering the protection afforded to breeders, the following require the prior authorisation of the rights holder:
1. Producing or reproducing (multiplying)
2. Conditioning for the purpose of propagation
3. Offering for sale
4. Selling or other marketing
5. Exporting
6. Importing
7. Stocking for any of the above purposes
It is important to note that theauthorization of the rights holder is not required for:
• Acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes
• Acts done for experimental purposes
• Acts done for the purpose of breeding and exploiting other varieties. An exception to this is in the case of essentially derived and certain other varieties which may not be exploited without the authorization of the breeder of the original variety.


How long do the breeder’s rights last?

The minimum duration described in the 1991 act is:
• 25 years for trees and vines
• 20 years for other plants


Can a breeder obtain worldwide protection for a plant?

So in general we need to grant the protection in each country separately, but there some systems e.g: Community Plant Variety Office for members of the European Union. he work of UPOV greatly simplifies this process as it encourages members to recognize the technical testing done in other member States. This greatly reduces the cost and effort needed to get protection in several countries.


the plant must be in order to protect ?

• New or novel
• Distinct*
• Uniform* and
• Stable *
• Have a satisfactory denomination


Once protection is afforded, the holder of the breeder’s rights has the right to prevent the following actions without his/her authorization:

• Production or reproduction (multiplication)
• Conditioning for the purpose of propagation
• Offering for sale
• Selling or other marketing
• Exporting
• Importing
• Stocking for any of the above purposes


How UPOV helps?

One of the important roles for UPOV is to help breeders obtain protection in several countries. It achieves this, amongst other means, by encouraging countries to accept test results from other countries that are members of UPOV.