Characteristics of a plant breeders patent

With reference to the law of property, explain two characteristics of a plant breeder’s patent

Characteristics of a plant breeders patent

With these rights, the breeder can choose to become the exclusive marketer of the variety, or to license the variety to others. In order to qualify for these exclusive rights, a variety must be new, distinct, uniform and stable. A variety is:

  • New if it has not been commercialized for more than one year in the country of protection;
  • Distinct if it differs from all other known varieties by one or more important- botanical characteristics, such as height, maturity, color, etc.;
  • Uniform if the plant characteristics are consistent from plant to plant within the variety;
  • Stable if the plant characteristics are genetically fixed and therefore remain the same from generation to generation, or after a cycle of reproduction in the case of hybrid varieties.

The breeder must also give the variety an acceptable “denomination”, which becomes its generic name and must be used by anyone who markets the variety. Typically, plant variety rights are granted by national offices, after examination. Seed is submitted to the plant variety office, who grow it for one or more seasons, to check that it is distinct, stable, and uniform. If these tests are passed, exclusive rights are granted for a specified period (typically 20/25 years (or 25/30 years, for trees and vines). Annual renewal fees are required to maintain the rights.

Breeders can bring suit to enforce their rights and can recover damages for infringement. Plant breeders’ rights contain exemptions from infringement that are not recognized under patent law

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