The Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR) scheme protects breeders for a period of time and gives them a commercial monopoly, while encouraging plant breeding and innovation. Other provisions enable the use of overseas germ plasm for breeding and the use of farm-saved seed.
The general public benefits from PBR by having access to a large, growing pool of new varieties as they become freely available when the protection periods lapse.
PBR protection allows you to exclude others from:
- producing or reproducing the material
- conditioning the material for the purpose of propagation
- offering the material for sale
- selling the material
- importing the material
- exporting the material
- stocking the material for any of the purposes described above.
PBR protection applies for 25 years from the date of granting for grapevines (Vitis vinifera) and trees and 20 years for all other species.
PBR also protects the registered name and synonym of the variety from use in relation to other similar plants.
Protection for germplasm
PBR makes available to plant breeders and the general public overseas, plant germplasm, often of superior quality, that would otherwise not be available to them. Australian plant breeders can use this germplasm material in their breeding programs due to breeder's exemptions.
You have the opportunity to commercialise your variety yourself or through a contractual arrangement (such as licensing) with a chosen person or organisation. For the period of your PBR, you are the only one who can do so.
Companies are more willing to enter into licensing contracts knowing that their investment will be protected by PBR. For example, the Australian Wheat Board has implemented the End Point Royalty Scheme to collect royalties directly from the growers under their licensing arrangements.
Since the establishment of PBR in Australia, many organisations confirm plant variety protection before they start commercialising them - it's much easier to collect royalties on a product than public levy.
Centre for research and training
Funding bodies have been established to channel royalties obtained from PBR into further research and breeding. The Intellectual Centre for Australian Property in Agriculture (ACIPA) has been established to conduct research and training in IP rights. This is funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
Last Updated: 21/10/2013