A plant variety represents a more precisely defined group of plants , selected from within a species with a common set of characteristics .Under the unique system of IPR, Protection to new plant varieties is provided through ‘ Plant Breeder’s Right ‘ granted to the breeder of the new plant variety. A breeder is a person who bred , discovered or developed a variety . the protection is provided under the independent ‘sui generis ‘ system ( sui generis system is a unique system in which new national laws and international norms are administered as per the requirements . such system are generally adopted for the IP protection of biodiversity and genetic resources in most countries; Biodiversity describes the life variability existing on the earth at the genetic level and the larger ecosystem level. Biodiversity comprises microbial life , plant and animal life.)
International Agreements/Treaties for Plant Protection –
To include plant variety protection under the realm of IP two main treaties have played an important role.
- Union International pour la protection des obtentions vegetales ( UPOV) English version ( International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties ) , held in 1961 in Paris provided IP protection to plant breeders for newly developed plant varieties on an international scale. Under the UPOV Act the sui generis system for protecting plant varieties is adopted .
- Trade related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ( TRIPS) Agreement- in 1995 WTO administered TRIPS agreement introduced plant variety protection either through a patent system or through the sui generis system developed by the member countries or a combination of both. It had down minimal legal standards for designing an effective sui generis system of plant variety protection.
Indian Context for Protection of Plant Varieties –
In alignment with TRIPS Agreement , India selected sui generis system over patent under the ‘ Plant Variety Protection and Farmers Right ( PVP&FR ) Act 2001 , The Act lays the foundation for the establishment of an effective system for protecting plant of Agriculture and farmers welfare , Government of India , has established PVP&FR Authority ‘ based in Delhi
- Developing distinctiveness Uniformity and stability test guidelines for the plant varieties .
- Developing characterization and documentation of varieties registered.
- Compulsory cataloguing facilities for all varieties of plants .
- Documentation indexing and cataloguing of farmers varieties
- Recognizing and rewarding farmers a community of farmers particularly tribal and rural communities engaged in conservation improvement preservation of plant genetic resources of economic plants and their wild relatives.
- Maintenance of the National Register of plant varieties
- Maintenance of National Gene Bank
WHAT IS A PLANT VARIETY –
The Act does not define a plant variety , but defines variety to mean a plant grouping except micro organism within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank which can be
- Defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given genotype of that plant grouping
- A variety refers to a variation within a plant species that develops naturally in the environment .
A Farmers variety means a variety which
- A variety that has been traditionally cultivated and evolved by farmers in their agriculture fields or
- Is a wild relative or land race of a variety about which the farmer possess the common knowledge
A Extant Variety means a variety available in India which is
- Notified under section 5 of the seeds Act , 1966
- A farmers variety or
- A variety about which there is common knowledge
- Any other variety which is in public domain
PROCEDURE OF REGISTRATION OF PLANT VARIETY :
- Who can apply ( Section 14 )
- Any person claiming to be breeder
- Any successor of the breeder
- Any person being the assignee of the breeder
- Any farmer or group of farmer or community claiming to be breeder
- Any person authorized by a person in a prescribed manner specified under clause (a) to (d) to make application on his behalf
- Any university or agriculture institution to be the breeder
- Criteria for new variety
A new variety shall deemed to be –
- Novel – If the harvested material of such variety has not been sold or otherwise disposed of by or with the consent of its breeder or his successor for the purpose of misuse of such variety India , in case of trees earlier than six years.
- Distinguishable – If It is clearly detectable by at least one essential characteristic from any other variety whose existence is a matter of common knowledge in any country.
- Uniform – All plants of plant variety show the same characteristics ( subjected to variation in generations due to propagation ) .
- Stability– Through many generations the essential characteristic of the plant should not change in terms of quality and content.
Types Of Plant Varieties Registered Under PVP&FR Act , 2001 –
Different types of plant varieties that can be registered in India under the PVR&FR Act are as follow :
New Variety – A new variety that confers the criteria of novelty , distinctiveness , uniformity & stability (NDUS)
Extant Variety – A variety can be registered as an extant variety if it is – (i) notified under Section 5 Seeds Act , 1966 or
ii) is a farmer’s variety or (iii) variety whose common knowledge prevails and is available in the public domain .
Farmer’s Variety– This is a variety that is traditionally cultivated and developed by the farmers in the field. These varieties can be a wild relative of any variety of which farmer has common knowledge .
Essentially Derived Variety – Is the variety that is derived from a new variety of extant variety
Plant Varieties Which Cannot Be Registered In India :.
- Plant variety whose commercial exploitation is detrimental for the environment or public order or public morality or health
- Plant variety that involve the use of technology which is detrimental to human/animal / plant life .
- Plant variety that belongs to the genera or species which is not listed in the notification issue by the Government of India .
PROCESS OF REGISTRATION :
The registration of plant variety is mandatory for farmers or plant breeders to exercise their exclusive rights over the plant variety. The registration of plant variety is carried out in the following steps –
- Forms for the registration of plant variety , extent variety , farmers variety and essentially derived variety are submitted to the PVP&FR Authority and are published on the website . There are more then 30 forms dedicated to plant variety protection.
- Plant variety which have received DUS Certificate are published in the ‘Plant Variety Journal of India ‘. At this stage the application is open for the opposition to registration of the plant variety .
- With no opposition to the application , the registrar will serve the notice of opposition to the applicant and the applicant has to file the counter statement for the opposition within two months of the receipt of the notice. Failing to do so the application will be abandoned.
- The registered plant varieties are added to the National Register of Plant Varieties maintained at the head office of PVP&FR Authority in New Delhi. The list of registered varieties can be accessed at Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Right Authority.
EFFECT OF REGISTRATION
The certificate of registration issued by the registrar in respect of a variety confers on the breeder or his successor gets an exclusive right to sell, market ,distribute ,import or export the variety . in case of an extant variety unless a breeder or his successor establishes his right the central government or state government be the owner .
A breeder of a registered variety can authorize any person to produce sell market or deal with the variety registered under this act . The person so authorized will apply to the registrar for registering his title . The registered agent shall not have a right to transfer such right further.
The Act permits the use of any registered variety for the purpose of conducting experiment or for creating other variety . But where the repeated use of such variety as a parental line is necessary for commercial production of such other newly developed variety , the authorization of the breeder of the registered variety is required.
Right of Communities
If the people of any village or local community have contributed in the evolution of any variety then any person group of person or any governmental or non governmental organization may on behalf of that community can claim attribution to the contribution of the people of that village or local community . The authority after making the necessary enquiry if satisfied will grant compensation to the applicant which shall be deposited by the breeder of the variety in national Gene Fund.
Benefit sharing in the context of registered variety means the proportion of the benefit accruing to the breeder of such variety for which a claimant shall be entitled
Farmers or tribal communities that contributed to the development of new crop varieties are entitled to equitable sharing of benefit that emerge from the new crop variety. India has enacted the ‘Biological Diversity Act, 2002 ‘ for preserving biological diversity existing in India along with establishing legal mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits emerging from traditional biological resources and traditional knowledge .
- Intellectual property by prof. Rupinder tewari and Ms. Mamta Bhardwaj ( Book)
- https://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2006/04/article_0004.html << ( Accessed on 19 August )
- Protection of farmers right in india by Ms P.S Seema ( Book )
- procedure of registration <
- ( Accessed on 19 August )
- http://egyankosh.ac.in <<< Effects of registration under plant variety protection
- https://www.rkdewan.com>> what is plant variety ( accessed on 21 August )
- https://lawgist.in/protection-of-plant-varieties-and-farmers-rights-act >> Farmer’s Right ( Accessed on 21 August)
- https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract >> International agreement for Plant Protection ( accessed on 21 August)
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