Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR), are a form of intellectual property, which are similar in application to patents or copyright. Plant Breeder's Rights give the holder exclusive marketing rights to a registered plant variety for a period of 20 years (or 25 years in the case of tree or vine species).
Plant Breeder's Rights allows the holder to license other persons (such as Seednet) with the exclusive commercial rights of a new variety. This allows the licensee to:
- Produce or reproduce the material
- Condition the material for the purpose of propagation (conditioning includes cleaning, coating, sorting, packaging and grading)
- Offer the material for sale
- Sell the material
- Import the material
- Export the material, and
- Stock the material for any of the purposes described above.
Plant Breeder's Rights are administered under the Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994 (The Act). The rights can be applied for using forms available from the Plant Breeder's Rights Office.
Extent of Rights
PBR protection covers the propagating material of the protected variety, and also includes propagating material of essentially derived and dependent varieties.
The Plant Breeder's Right extends to the harvested material, or even the products derived from the harvested material if the PBR holder has not had an opportunity to exercise their rights to the propagating material (eg the propagating material is exported, multiplied or sold without the authorisation of the grant holder).
Exceptions to the Rights
Monopoly rights do not extend to the propagating material of the protected plant variety in all circumstances. The following acts are not an infringement of the Plant Breeder's Right:
- The use of the variety privately and for non-commercial purposes, for experimental purposes, and for breeding other plant varieties. A variety can be used for these purposes irrespective of the existence of Plant Breeder's Rights.
- The use and sale of the propagative material of a protected variety as a food, food ingredient or fuel.
- Farmers have the right to condition and save sufficient seed of a protected variety to allow them to sow the subsequent crop on their land (or that of a partner or bone fide sharefarmer), unless the crop is declared by regulation to be one to which farm saved seed does not apply (Seednet varieties do not fall into this category).