Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR) provide registered intellectual property protection for plant varieties in Australia. Australia is a member of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), and Australian PBR legislation conforms with the UPOV Convention.
Australian PBR allow for protection of new plant varieties produced by both conventional breeding and genetic engineering. Included within a ‘plant variety’ for the purposes of PBR are all land plants (Embryophyta), as well as fungi and algae.
To be eligible for PBR, a variety must meet ‘DUS’ criteria – i.e. be distinct from other varieties, and uniform and stable across generations, as assessed using applicable criteria. Additionally, the variety must not have been sold in Australia more than a year, or sold overseas more than four years (six years for tree and vines), prior to filing of an Australian PBR application.
The Australian PBR application process involves the filing of a ‘Part 1’ application, in which details of the variety are provided and a prima facie case for registrability is made. Subsequently, detailed examination is performed as part of a ‘Part 2’ application stage, either based on a growth trial conducted in Australia, or data from a trial performed in another UPOV country.
Once registration is obtained PBR allow the owner to exclude other parties from exploiting the variety commercially, with some limited exceptions. PBR can also provide protection of related varieties that share all commercially important features, but differ in respect of certain characteristics deemed commercially irrelevant (‘Essentially Derived Varieties’ or EDVs).
The IP Gateway life sciences team has substantial experience in assisting with PBR matters, both for local Australian clients and overseas agents.