The Protection of Plant Varieties and farmers right Act 2001 was enacted in India to protect the new plant Varieties . Rules for the same were notified in 2003. The Act has now come into force . The protection of plant Varieties and Farmers Right Authority has been set up and is responsible to administer the Act . Under TRIPS agreement it is obligatory on part of a member to provide protection to new variety either through patent or an effective sui generis system a combination of these two System. A breeder is a person who breed , discovered or developed a variety . the protection is provided under the independent ‘sui generis ‘ system .
The Act seeks to provide protection to plant and breeders who have developed plant varieties by the use of their intellectual capabilities to boost the agriculture development in the country . The introduction of plant variety protection in India has significant implications since seed has traditionally been supplied overwhelmingly by farmers themselves and by the public sector, with the private sector playing a marginal role until recently in most crops. From a legal perspective, the protection of plant varieties remains an issue even after adopting the Plant Variety Protection Act 2001 . This is due to a number of reasons: Firstly, plant variety protection is an issue which goes beyond giving incentives to the private sector. In fact, while the TRIPs agreement is the direct trigger for the introduction of plant variety protection, it is not the only relevant treaty. The Biodiversity Convention and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA Treaty) are also of major importance. 2 (42) Secondly, while plant variety protection is directly related to in novation in the field of agriculture, it must also be understood in the broader context which includes conservation of biological resources. Thirdly, plant variety protection is opposed to the idea that agricultural management should be based on the sharing of knowledge and resources. This may be Criticized from a conceptual and practical point of view. However, in the context of the widespread ratification of TRIPs and the increasingly tenuous nature of farmers’ hold over their resources and knowledge, it is necessary to go beyond criticism and understand the additional requirements of the current international legal system with respect to the needs of farmers and more broadly of food security for all individuals.
. What are the objectives of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act in India?
The objectives of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act are:
(i) To stimulate investments for research and development both in the public and the private sectors for the developments of new plant varieties by ensuring appropriate returns on such investments;
(ii) To Smooth the growth of the seed industry in the country and ensure availability of seeds high quality seeds .
(iii) To recognize the role of farmers as cultivators and conservers and the contribution of traditional, rural and tribal communities to the country’s agro biodiversity by rewarding them for their contribution through benefit sharing and protecting the traditional right of the Farmers .
More importantly this act provides safeguards to farmers by giving farmers’ rights while providing for an effective system of protection of plant breeders’ rights. The Act seeks to safeguard researchers’ rights as well. It also contains provisions for safeguarding the larger public interest. The farmer’s rights include his traditional rights to save, use, share or sell his farm produce of a variety protected under this Act provided the sale is not for the purpose of reproduction under a commercial marketing arrangement.
. What is the meaning of Farmers’ Variety as per PPVFR Act, 2001?
“Farmers’ Variety” means a variety which-
1. Has been traditionally cultivated and evolved by the farmers in their fields; or
2. Is a wild relative or land race of a variety about which the farmers possess the common knowledge
TERMS OF PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION –
(i) In the case of trees and vines, eighteen years from the date of registration of the variety;
(ii) In the case of extant varieties, fifteen years from the date of the notification of that variety by the Central Government under section 5 of the Seeds Act,1966
(iii) In the other cases, fifteen years from the date of registration of the variety. Initially the certificate of registration shall be valid for nine years in the case of trees and vines and six years in the case of other crops and may be revived and renewed for the remaining period on payment of fees as may be fixed by the rules.
Types of Plant Varieties Registered Under , 2001 :
Different PVP&FRAct types of plant varieties that can be registered in India under the PVP&FR act as follows :
• New Variety – A new variety that confers the criteria of Novelty, Distinctiveness, Uniformity & Stability [NDUS]
• 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 a common knowledge
.• Extant Variety – A variety can be registered as an extant variety if it is – i) notified under Section 5 of Seeds Act,1966 or ii) is a farmer‘s variety or iii) variety whose common knowledge prevails and is available in the public domain.
• Essentially Derived Variety – Is the variety that is derived from a new variety of extant variety or farmer‘s variety.
Plant Varieties which cannot be Registered in India
• Plant variety that belongs to the genera or species which is not listed in the notification issued by the Government of India
.• Plant variety that involves the use of technology which is detrimental to human/animal/plant life
.• Plant variety whose commercial exploitation is detrimental for the environment or public order or public morality or health or human/animal/plant life.
•Plant Varieties which cannot be Registered in India
Cases Related to Plant Variety Protection in India
PepsiCo Potato Case – PepsiCo India Holding (PIH) filed a case against farmers of Gujarat for illegally growing and selling PepsiCo registered Hybrid Potato Plant Varieties (FL 1867 and FL 207) in the year 2019. The case led to public outrage and pushed the government to moderate PepsiCo to withdraw the case against the farming community of India. PIH withdrew its case based on the provisions of ‗Farmers Rights‘ under the PVP&FR Act, 2001 enacted in India.
Monsanto Vs Nuziveedu Seeds Limited – Monsanto, an American company, filed a case against Indian agro company .Nuziveedu in the year 2016 for not paying due Patent royalties over infused BT Gene cotton variety that was patented by Monsanto. Nuziveedu challenged the Patent validity of infused BT gene cotton plant in India. As plants or plant varieties cannot be patented in India [according to Section 3 (f) of the Patent Act, 1970], the Indian court invalidated Monsanto‘s patent on the BT Cotton plant and directed Monsanto to apply for plant protection under PVP&FR Act, 2001.
The introduction of diverse forms of intellectual property rights in the agriculture field is on the whole completely novel in India and mainly linked to the necessity to comply with India’s existing international obligations and to the general trend towards the privatization of knowledge in recent decades. During its 50 years of development and application, UPOV’s PVP system has proven effective in encouraging the creation of new varieties of plants and in introducing those varieties into agricultural and horticultural practice for the benefit of society. The findings summarized in this article demonstrate that the UPOV system contributes to:
I. Further innovation and investment in plant breeding;
II. More and better varieties for farmers and growers;
III. Increased income for farmers;
IV. Rural employment and economic development;
V. Development of international markets.
I. https://www.fao.org/3/y5714e/y5714e03.htm >> Introduction to IPR [ Intellectual Property Rights ]
II. Intellectual property Rights by prof. Rupinder tewari and Ms. Mamta Bhardwaj [ Book ]
III. Protection of farmers Right in India by Ms. P.S Seema [ Book ]
IV.https://ibkp.dbtindia.gov.in/DBT_Content_Test/CMS/Guidelines/20181115121824577_The%20Protection%20of%20Plant%20Varieties%20and%20Farmers%E2%80%99%20Rights%20Act,%202001.pdf >>Need for farmers Right protection
V.https://indiankanoon.org/search/?formInput=plant%20variety%20and%20farmers%20rights%20protection+doctypes:judgments >> Cases Related to Plant Variety Protection
VI.https://legaldesire.com/top-landmark-judgements-on-farmers-rights-in-india/ >> Legal judgments related to farmers Right
VIII.https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract >> terms of plant variety protection
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