Toward Implementing New Plant Breeders’ Rights Option

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The new Farm Bill that was signed into law at the end of 2018 included a provision, supported by AmericanHort, that expanded the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) to cover asexually, or vegetatively, reproduced plants.  Since its inception in 1970, the PVPA has been the primary breeders’ rights option for breeders of seed-reproduced plant innovations. The rights granted under the PVPA are expected to have some advantages over the rights provided under the Plant Patent Act, which has been the primary tool for protecting plant intellectual property rights since 1930.  We explain what the new option means in a “white paper” available here.

USDA is now preparing to make the regulatory changes needed to implement the Farm Bill provision.  In advance of proposing changes, AmericanHort twice hosted the senior staff of the Plant Variety Protection Office to discuss technical issues and strategies for successfully adding asexually-reproduced plants. We also attended an April 25 meeting of the Plant Variety Protection Board, to offer suggestions and respond to questions.

Changes to the PVPA are expected by December, and possibly as early as October 1.  For us, the goal is a smooth and timely implementation of the changes, in the interest of continuing to spur the innovation that drives our industry forward.

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