New Plant Varieties

All you need to know about New Plant Varieties


What is a New Plant Variety?

A new plant variety represents a more precisely defined group of plants, selected from within a species, with a common set of characteristics. These new plants are not discovered in the wild but are the result of human plant breeding efforts.

What is the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)?

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is an intergovernmental organization which provides the foundation for members to encourage plant breeding by granting breeders of new plant varieties an intellectual property right.

What is New Plant Variety protection?

New plant variety protection is a type of intellectual property right granted to the person or entity that breeds a new plant variety. These rights also known as plant breeder’s rights (PBRs) allow plant breeders to prevent persons from commercializing the protected variety without prior authorization.

How can a New Variety be protected?

Antigua and Barbuda is presently not a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, however within this Union, breeder rights are only granted where the plant variety is: (i) new, (ii) distinct, (iii) uniform, (iv) stable and has a suitable denomination.

What constitutes a New Plant Variety?

Plant varieties are new when it has not have been sold, or otherwise disposed of, in the territory of the member of the Union concerned for more than one year prior to the application for a breeder’s right, or more than four years (six years for trees or vines) in the territory of another member of the Union.

What constitutes a Distinct Plant Variety?

Plant varieties are distinct from other similar varieties when a specific feature or characteristic differs sufficiently from the varieties most similar to it.

What constitutes a Uniform Plant Variety?

Plant varieties are uniform or homogeneous when the specific characteristic of the new variety occurs within a sufficiently consistent range so that a representative number of plants of the new variety can be distinguished by that characteristic from a similar number of plants of the closest similar varieties.

What constitutes a Stable Plant Variety?

Plant varieties are stable if their relevant characteristics remain essentially the same after repeated propagation. It has been found that uniformity is a good indicator of stability, therefore where a variety is sufficiently uniformed, it is likely to be reasonably stable.

What are the benefits of New Varieties of plants for society?

  • New varieties that are adapted to the environment in which they are grown increase the choice of healthy, tasty, and nutritious food while generating a viable income for farmers.
  • New varieties can be the key to accessing global markets and improving international trade for developing countries. It also has the ability to support the development of urban agriculture and the growing of ornamental plants, shrubs and trees that contribute to improving the lives of people in the expanding urban environment.
  • Breeding plant varieties with improved yield, more efficient use of nutrients, resistance to plant pests and diseases can sustainably increase productivity and product quality in agriculture, horticulture and forestry, whilst minimizing the pressure on the natural environment.

Who can protect a New Plant Variety?

Only the breeder of a new plant variety can protect that new plant variety. It is not permitted for someone other than the breeder to obtain protection of a variety. There are no restrictions on who can be considered to be a breeder under the UPOV system. A breeder might be an individual, a farmer, a researcher, a public institute, a private company etc.