Why horticulturists need to stay updated with plant breeders’ rights

Recent changes to the definition of ‘vine’ means opportunities have opened for plant breeders to develop new varieties of certain plants. Let’s take a look at why it’s so important for horticulturalists to keep up-to-date with changes to plant breeders’ rights.

Recent changes to the definition of 'vine' by the Plant Breeders Rights office of IP Australia mean horticulturalists can take advantage of new opportunities. These include having the chance to develop unique plant varieties and avail of the longer deadline for filing an application for intellectual property protection on any of the recently-added genera under the term.

Changes like this are important to the day-to-day operation of business involved in the agriculture and food sectors – which is why it's vital to keep updated with amendments to plant breeders' rights to avoid legal issues.

Changes to plant breeders rights' laws could lead the development of new kinds of kiwi fruit. Changes to plant breeders rights' laws could lead the development of new kinds of kiwifruit. 

What are the changes?

Traditionally, plant breeders' rights under the term vine have been limited to a particular type of grapevine. This limited protection has now been expanded to include several new plant generas, including:

  • Kiwifruits (scientifically and artistically defined as a vine plant);
  • Bougainvillea bushes;
  • Certain kinds of ivy.

This means there are several key policy changes that could affect businesses in the sector:

  • The deadline for filing a PBR application for a plant variety of any of these new genera is now six years, rather than four years, from the date of first overseas sale.
  • This new protection also lasts for longer because plant breeders' rights for trees and vines last for 25 years, rather than 20 years for all other plants.
  • The scope for developing new varieties of the above plants gives horticulturalists new options for development. 

Why are these changes important?

These new changes gives businesses the chance to gain more intellectual property protection for research and development. One such business that could benefit greatly from this change is Seeka Australia. The nation's largest supplier of kiwifruit, the chance to develop new varieties that may be more resistant to disease or durable in harsh weather means their hard work will be protected for longer under IP law.

New varieties of plants can be developed from through research - and businesses can protect this IP for longer under new laws. New varieties of some plants can be developed from thorough research – and businesses can protect this IP for longer under new laws. 

It also gives businesses more time to file for protection from their date of first overseas sale, which means further testing can be done to optimise what they eventually offer their customers.

Why should I stay up-to-date with plant breeders rights?

A change like this could easily go under the radar of a business not interested in reviewing and updating their intellectual property strategy. By missing out on this news, many in the sector will be unable to take advantage of this change until further down the tack. Plant breeders who want to offer consumers something new and stay ahead of competition need to stay up-to-date with IP law.

It is easier to do this with the help of legal specialists – so contact Alder IP for a consultation on your business' intellectual property protection.