In order to provide for the establishment of an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants it has been considered necessary to recognize and to protect the rights of the farmers in respect of their contributions made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new plant varieties.
To provide for the effective system for protection of plant varieties, “The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001” has been enacted.
Indian legislation is not only in conformity with International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1978, but also have sufficient provisions to protect the interests of public/private sector breeding institutions and the farmers. The legislation recognizes the contributions of both commercial plant breeders and farmers in plant breeding activity and also provides to implement TRIPs in a way that supports the specific socio-economic interests of all the stakeholders including private, public sectors and research institutions, as well as resource-constrained farmers.
To implement the provisions of the Act the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture established the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority on 11th November, 2005.
- To establish an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants.
- To recognize and protect the rights of farmers in respect of their contributions made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new plant variety
- To accelerate agricultural development in the country, protect plant breeders’ rights; stimulate investment for research and development both in public & private sector for the development of new plant varieties.
- Facilitate the growth of seed industry in the country which will ensure the availability of high quality seeds and planting material to the farmers.
Why protection of plant varieties has become an important issue?
The breeding activities and exploitation of new varieties are the decisive factors for improving rural income and their overall economic development. Since the process of plant breeding is long and expensive, it is important to provide an effective system of plant variety protection with an aim to encourage the development of new varieties of plants for the benefit of society.
What is a variety?
Variety means a plant grouping except micro-organism within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank, which can be-
- defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given genotype of that plant grouping.
- distinguished from any other plant grouping by expression of at least one of the said characteristics;
- considered as unit with regard to its suitability for being propagating, which remain unchanged after such propagation, and includes propagating material of such variety, extant variety, transgenic variety, farmers’ variety and essentially derived variety.
Means a variety which has been essentially derived from existing variety by any of the following means:
- Genetic Engineering
- Tissue Culture Derived
- Back Cross Derivative
- Any other (Ploidy change etc.)
Essentially Derived Varieties (EDV):
EDV is clearly distinguishable from such initial variety; and conforms (except for the differences which result from the act of derivation) to such initial variety in the expression of the essential characteristics that result from the genotype or combination of genotype of such initial variety.
What is the duration of protection of a registered plant variety?
The duration of protection of registered varieties is different for different type of crops which are as below:
- Trees and vines – 18 years.
- For other crops – 15 years.
- For extant varieties notified – 15 years from the date of notification
under section 5 of the Seeds Act, 1966 Act,
Can a new and distinct plant found growing in nature be protected?
As such those plant varieties present in wilderness cannot be registered, under PPV&FR Authority. However, any traditionally cultivated plant variety which has undergone the process of domestication /improvement through human interventions can be registered and protected subjected to fulfilment of the eligible criteria.
What are the characteristics which may be used for distinguishing a variety?
The new variety should be distinct from the other varieties for at least one essential characteristic.
What are the prerequisites for filing an application form for registration of plant variety?
For registration of a plant variety the following prerequisites has to be completed:
- Denomination assigned to such variety.
- Accompanied by an affidavit that variety does not contain any gene or gene sequences involving terminator technology.
- Complete passport data of parental lines from which the variety has been derived along with its geographical location in India and all such information relating to the contribution if any, of any farmer (s), village, community, institution or organization etc in breeding, evolving or developing the variety.
- Characteristics of variety with description for Novelty, Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability.
- A declaration that the genetic material used for breeding of such variety has been lawfully acquired.
- A breeder or other person making application for registration shall disclose the use of genetic material conserved by any tribal or rural families for improvement of such variety.
What comprises a plant variety protection Application Form?
The application for registration of a variety is to be made in the form prescribed in the PPV & FR Regualtions,2006.
- Form I – for registration of new variety, extant variety and farmer’s variety and
- Form II – for essentially derived varieties (EDVs).
- Technical Questionnaire attached with Form I/Form II – for detailed information of the concerned variety.
These filled application forms must be accompanied by the registration fee prescribed in the PPV & FR Rules, 2003.
Who can apply for the registration of a plant variety?
Application for registration of a variety can be made by:
- any person claiming to be the breeder of the variety;
- any successor of the breeder of the variety;
- any person being the assignee or the breeder of the variety in respect of the right to make such application;
- any farmer or group of farmers or community of farmers claiming to be breeder of the variety;
- any person authorized to make application on behalf of farmers and
- any University or publicly funded agricultural institution claiming to be breeder of the variety.
Can an application for registration of plant varieties be made through an agent?
Yes, a breeder or a farmer can apply for registration either in person or through his agent.
Is it necessary to submit the seed / propagating material before registration?
Yes, the breeder shall be required to deposit the seed or propagating material including parental line seeds of registered variety to the Authority. An applicant has to submit a fixed amount of seed sample (breeder seed) with prescribed germination percentage, physical purity and phyto-sanitary standards. The applicant shall also submit along with the seed/propagating material and the seed quality test report.
What is done with the seeds received by the Authority?
The seed samples received by the Authority will be properly tested for its purity and germination. A part of the seed sample sent to the test centre for conduct of DUS tests and a part of is kept by the Authority in the National Gene Bank to maintain the seed samples of the registered varieties for their entire period of protection.
Can a person apply for registration of a variety which is already in the market?
Any variety which is already in the market, but not for more than a year, can be applied for registration as a new variety. Other older variety can be applied for registration as Extant Variety.