What is the legal basis of Plant Variety Rights?

UPOV (www.upov.int), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, is an inter-governmental organisation, established by the UPOV Convention in 1961. UPOV, with currently 69 members, defines the basic principles relating to variety protection, and it is on these principles that the national and EU Plant Breeders' Rights systems are based.

In the European Community two options for plant variety protection exist:

  • National protection (national schemes with national coverage) and
  • Protection at Community level.

In the EU, breeders very often seek IP protection under the Community Plant Variety Protection (CPVR) (www.cpvo.eu). This system offers protection at the level of the Community. On the basis of one application, a Community plant variety right can be obtained that is valid in the territory of all the EU Member States, whereas national protection is limited of course to the territory of the state in question.

EU Plant Variety Rights take precedence over national Rights. Plant Variety Rights for vegetable species are valid for 25 years.

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