What to consider before naming your plant variety

Before you name your plant variety, it's important to understand the commercial implications of a plant breeder's right (PBR)-protected variety name.  

What plant naming conventions are protected under PBR?

When naming your plant variety within your PBR application, you'll get to decide on the:

  • Variety name: formally known as a denomination

  • Synonym name (optional): so you can tailor your variety name to different markets.

Can I trade mark my plant variety name?

Once you've included a plant variety name on your PBR application and we've accepted your application, you can't trade mark this same nameThat's because the same name can't be protected under these two different IP rights.

How to successfully use a trade mark and PBR for your variety

In your PBR application, use a: 

  • Plant variety name that works for your target market, such as growers
  • Trade mark the name that reflects the brand name you wish to market (and become well known for).

Be aware that you can't trade mark just one plant variety. A trade mark acts as a brand, and must include multiple varieties under it.

What is a trade mark?

Example

Pink Lady apples: a trade mark and PBR success story

Most people think Pink Lady apples are a type of apple, but Pink Lady is actually a brand for a group of apple varieties protected by a trade mark.

Under the Pink Lady brand, there are a number of PBR protected varieties. These include:

  • Lady in Red
  • Early Cripps Pink (ECP)
  • BEP001.

The partners involved in developing and marketing the apples realised that if they used Pink Lady as the variety name for a PBR, they wouldn't be able to use the name as a trade mark.

They took the strategic decision to market their varieties of apples under the brand of Pink Lady, while protecting the various apple varieties with PBR.

Their strategy worked. Pink Lady apples became the biggest-selling apples in Australia and a significant Australian export.

The PBRs are owned by the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, while the brand is owned and managed in more than 80 countries by Apple and Pear Australia Limited.