Plant breeders may develop a new species of plants that has not been seen before. These developments may yield great commercial benefits to a breeder. For example, a breeder who has developed drought resistant plants that can withstand the harsh conditions of the Australian outback could generate considerable publicity and sales.

You, the breeder of a new plant species, can protect your rights in relation to these plants under the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994. You can gain exclusive commercial rights to the use, production, sale and distribution of this new species while allowing you to collect the royalties from these plants throughout the process.

You will also have the exclusive rights to:

  • Reproduce the plants
  • Import or export the plants
  • Condition the plants

If you are the breeder of this new variety or you have been given ownership of this new variety of plants then you can apply for Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR). Protection from acquiring PBR can last up to 25 years and is dependent upon the type of plant that is being registered.

Applying for PBR

There are two main steps that you must follow in order to apply for PBR. You must first apply for a PBR online using the Part 1 Application form.

And then you must complete the form entitled “Application for Plant Breeder’s Rights Part 2”.

Once these forms are lodged the application will be examined and the examination fee will become payable.

Potential outcomes of not applying for PBR

If you decide not to apply for PBR, you can either keep your new plant species private or you can disclose the secrets in relation to this new species to the public.

If you decide to keep this species secret then you run the risk of someone either finding out about your plant species or coming up with a similar plant species independently which may prevent you from applying for PBR in the future. You would not be able to apply for PBR if someone either uses your breeding techniques to create the same plant species or uses another technique to create similar plant species as your original plant species would no longer be novel.

If you decide to disclose information about your plant species the public may use your techniques freely and competitors may be able to also benefit from your techniques without having to pay you any royalties.

Conclusion

For specific advice in relation to PBR you could approach a legal professional with experience in the area of intellectual property law.

For more information on PBR and intellectual property law please see: http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/get-the-right-ip/plant-breeders-rights/

Ursula Hogben

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