Plant variety rights -The Breeder’s Exemption- Er.K..S.Rajmohan SASTRA UNIVERSITY : 25 October 2002 Geneva 1 Plant variety rights -The Breeder’s Exemption- Er.K..S.Rajmohan SASTRA UNIVERSITY Acknow:Tim Roberts
© 2002 Topics for discussion : 25 October 2002 Geneva 2 Topics for discussion Why a special IP system for plants?
The Breeder’s Privilege under PVP
Other restrictions on breeding We need IP for plants : 25 October 2002 Geneva 3 We need IP for plants To recognise and encourage work of plant innovators
To allow recovery of investment
breeding takes much time and money
products are easily copied Without IP : 25 October 2002 Geneva 4 Without IP Breeding must be done by public bodies (eg Governments)
Lose benefits of
self-interest ( )
diversity Why PVP? : 25 October 2002 Geneva 5 Why PVP? Patents are the standard way of protecting technical developments
Do we need a separate system?
‘Entia non sunt multiplicanda sine ratione’ - William of Occam
true of both natural and man-made laws Problems of patenting : 25 October 2002 Geneva 6 Problems of patenting Can (should?) organisms be patented?
You can’t invent ‘life’, only discover it
It’s immoral - intrinsically or in consequences
Breeding is not reproducible
Aren’t new varieties ‘obvious’?
Are the rights of the patentee appropriate?
Too weak - or too strong? UPOV : 25 October 2002 Geneva 7 UPOV Sui generis system
Provided a new right to protect specific varieties - not a patent
Because it is not a patent, the variety:
need not be inventive (non-obvious), just ‘distinct’
need not be reproducible - just ‘stable’
‘written description’ not essential
Rights over the variety are not so strong as a patent would give
problems of ethics, and monopoly, reduced Is UPOV still needed? : 25 October 2002 Geneva 8 Is UPOV still needed? Organisms now patentable
TRIPs says so - but plants don’t have to be.
Need for ‘written description’ supplemented by deposit
Many varieties still thought ‘obvious’
continuing controversy over appropriate rights UPOV system : 25 October 2002 Geneva 9 UPOV system Designed specifically to protect the work of breeders
Takes account of users’ needs
Specifically reserves rights for further development Freedom to develop - PVP : 25 October 2002 Geneva 10 Freedom to develop - PVP Important purpose of IP is to promote technical advance
“To promote the progress of science and useful arts..” (US Constitution, Art 1, s.6)
Most patent laws have “research exemption”
Breeders traditionally work by incremental improvement of existing materials
Must be free to continue “Research Exemption” in PVP : 25 October 2002 Geneva 11 “Research Exemption” in PVP “The Breeders’ Privilege” UPOV 91, Art 15(1)
(1) (Compulsory exceptions) The breeder's right shall not extend to
(i) acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes, (ii) acts done for experimental purposes and
(iii) acts done for the purpose of breeding other varieties, and, …[derived varieties aside], acts ...[of commercial exploitation].. in respect of such other varieties.
It is never an infringement of a PVP to use the variety for further breeding.
It is generally not an infringement of a PVP to exploit or sell the new variety bred.
Exception for ‘essentially derived varieties’ ‘Essentially derived’ varieties : 25 October 2002 Geneva 12 ‘Essentially derived’ varieties Varieties are by definition distinct from each other
Under UPOV 1978, no registered variety could infringe another (repeated use aside)
So very similar varieties were registered
GM technology made this worse - single gene differences
So UPOV 1991 extended protection to ‘essentially derived varieties’ (Art 14.5) Essential derivation : 25 October 2002 Geneva 13 Essential derivation “a variety shall be deemed to be essentially derived from another variety ("the initial variety") when
(i) it is predominantly derived from the initial variety, or from a variety that is itself predominantly derived from the initial variety, while retaining the expression of the essential characteristics that result from the genotype or combination of genotypes of the initial variety,
(ii) it is clearly distinguishable from the initial variety and
(iii) except for the differences which result from the act of derivation, it conforms to the initial variety in the expression of the essential characteristics that result from the genotype or combination of genotypes of the initial variety.” [Article 14.5.b, UPOV 1991] Examples of Essential Derivation : 25 October 2002 Geneva 14 Examples of Essential Derivation Article 14.5.c, UPOV 1991
Varieties obtained by:
selection of mutants (naturally occurring or induced)
somaclonal variants (from tissue culture);
List not exhaustive - may be others
marker-assisted selection from crosses???? This means…? : 25 October 2002 Geneva 15 This means…? A PVP holder can now challenge a close copy of a successful protected variety
If the new variety has a closely similar phenotype, and a closely similar genotype, there is a prima facie case of ‘essential derivation’
This may be rebutted by proof that the new variety was not bred from the original variety
How close is too close?
Industry is trying to develop schemes
room for argument - and eventually litigation Points to note : 25 October 2002 Geneva 16 Points to note Essential derivation is for courts, not PVP offices, to decide
‘Essentially derived’ varieties have themselves no protection against further derivation
so to prove that the claimant’s variety was itself ‘essentially derived’ is a defence
The breeder’s privilege is unaffected
the derived variety may be registered, but not exploited
Of course, there is some deterrence - but the right to use in breeding remains Freedom to develop - general : 25 October 2002 Geneva 17 Freedom to develop - general Is freedom to develop under PVP enough?
contractual rights Trade Secrets (1) : 25 October 2002 Geneva 18 Trade Secrets (1) The patent system requires the inventor to teach the public how to operate the invention
Not consistent with secrecy
The PVP system does not require public teaching
So can (probably) combine with trade secrecy
not for seed sold to public
but for parent lines of hybrids Trade Secrets (2) : 25 October 2002 Geneva 19 Trade Secrets (2) “All forms of information.. if “
(A) “the owner thereof has taken reasonable measures to keep such information secret”; and
(B) the information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable through proper means by, the public
Misuse now a criminal offence in USA
‘Proper means’ - means what? Contractual terms : 25 October 2002 Geneva 20 Development agreements between breeders
Restrictions on seed sales - shrink-wrap licences!
sale for planting for consumption
no rights to breed
inbreds vs hybrids
may differ from country to country Contractual terms Conclusion : 25 October 2002 Geneva 21 PVP allows access for further development
Other rights may not
********** Conclusion Slide 22: 25 October 2002 Geneva 22