Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act
The Protection of Plant varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act was implemented by the Government of India. The act was set to protect the new varieties of plants. This provides the process of registering the new variety plant to safeguard it. This act also streamlines the farmers’ rights on the new variety of plants.
Eligibility for Registration
People who can apply for the registration of the plant varieties are:
- Anybody who claims to be the breeder of the variety.
- The Breeder’s successor.
- Anybody assigned by the breeder to apply.
- Any farmer, group or community of farmers who claims to be the breeder.
- An agricultural institution or university.
The plant varieties that can be registered are given below:
- The new varieties that can be registered should follow the criteria of uniformity, distinctiveness, novelty and stability.
- The extant varieties can be registered, if it follows the conditions of stability, distinctiveness and uniformity.
Non-Applicability for Registration
The new variety cannot be registered if the denomination:
- Does not identify such variety.
- Causes confusion in the characteristics, value identity of the variety, the identity of the breeder.
- Causes confusion among the public about the identity.
- If it hurts the sentiments of the religions in India.
- If it is banned to use as emblem or name under the Emblems and Names Act, 1950.
- If it is of the geographical name.
Every application of the registration should assign a denomination to the variety. If the denomination does not satisfy the regulations, then another denomination should be proposed. The denomination should not be registered as a trademark.
Form of Application
The applicant for registration should have the following:
- A sworn in statement about the variety stating that it does not contain any gene sequence.
- Data about the parental line of the variety.
- The geographical location from where the variety is taken in India.
- A small description of the variety.
- The fees required.
- A declaration stating that the variety is lawfully acquired.
- A quantity of seeds for conducting tests.
- If the genetic material is conserved by the rural or tribal families, then the breeder should furnish the details.
Advertisement of the Application
When the application is accepted, the registrar will advertise it for any objections. A writing notice can be submitted by anyone to raise an objection against the application within 3 months of the published date.
Conditions to Oppose the Registration
The following are the conditions to oppose the registration by any person:
- For the breeder’s right.
- If the variety is not applicable to be registered.
- The variety portraying a negative effect on the environment.
- The grant of the certificate may not be in the interest of the public.
The applicant should reply to the opposition of the person within two months. If not, the application will be abandoned. If the applicant or the opponent does not reside or do business in India, then he should give security for the cost of the proceedings. By default, the case will be abandoned.
Registration for Essentially Derived Variety
- The application process is the same as for the plant variety.
- Tests will be conducted by the Authority to see if the essentially derived variety is derived from the initial variety.
- If the authority is satisfied then he will approve for the register, if not the application will be refused.
Certificate of Registration
If the Application of the registration of the variety is accepted without any opposition, then the variety can be registered. A certificate of the registration will be issued. If the registration of the variety is not completed within 12 months, then the application will be cancelled. The certificate of the registration will be valid for about 9 years in the case of vines and trees and 6 years in the case of any crop.
The Authority opens up the claims of the benefit-sharing to the registered variety. Any person or organisation (both governmental and non-governmental) can submit the claim of the registered variety along with the fees required. If the claimant has the extent and nature of the use of the genetic material of the variety for development and for using it commercially in the market, then the amount of benefit sharing can be claimed. The amount will be deposited by the breeder in the National Gene Fund, which will be paid to the claimant. The Breeder of the registered variety should provide a certain quantity of seeds along with the parental line seeds in the National Gene Bank.
Registration to confer the rights of the variety
The breeder can authorise anybody (agent or the licensee) to sell or produce the variety. The agent or the licensee should apply with the prescribed fees. Then the registrar would register him as the agent or licensee of the variety for which he has entitled the right. A certificate of Registration will be provided to him.
Registration from Convention Countries
If a person has applied for the breeder’s rights in the convention country, then he should apply for the registration of the variety within 12 months in India.
Surrender of the certificate of the registration
A breeder can at any time give the notice to surrender the certificate. The agent or licensee can oppose the notice of surrender. If the registrar is satisfied with the applicant, then he can accept the offer to surrender.
Revocation of the protection of the variety
The protection granted to the breeder can be revoked on the following grounds:
- If the certificate of registration is provided with incorrect information.
- The certificate is given to a person who is not eligible.
- If the breeder did not provide the necessary information, documents or materials.
- If the breeder fails to submit another denomination of the variety.
- If the breeder did not follow the rules of the act.
- If the breeder fails to give the seeds or propagating material to the person with a compulsory license.
- If the breeder, agent or the licensee does not pay the fees for two consecutive years.
- A farmer who has developed a new variety can register in the same way as the breeder.
- The farmer can save, sell, share or sow his produce just the same way before registering.
- The farmer does not have to pay any fees in the process.
- The farmer will not be accused of infringement if he is not aware of the rights of the act.
- The authorisation of the farmer’s essentially derived variety shall not be given to the breeder without the concern of the farmer or group of farmers.
Rights of the Researcher
- Any registered variety can be used for conducting any research or experiment.
- Use any variety to create new variety.
After the expiry of 3 years from the date of the registered certificate, any person can place the requirement of the variety to the Authority. The requirement can be such as:
- Public’s need for the seeds
- Availability of seeds at a reasonable price
The Authority after consultation can order the breeder to grant a license to the applicant and register the applicant as a licensee. If the authority is satisfied with the breeder, then the compulsory license will be adjourned.
The duration of the compulsory license varies from case to case. The compulsory licensee should provide to the farmers the seeds or the propagating material at a reasonable price. The compulsory licensee should not import the seeds from abroad. The Authority can revoke the license if the licensee has violated the conditions of his license. The authority has the rights to modify the terms and conditions of the license for the licensee at any point.
Plant Varieties Protection Appellate Tribunal
An appeal shall be made in writing and should contain the necessary particulars. The appeal can be made from any decision or order of the Registrar or Authority. The tribunal passes the order within a year after hearing from both the parties.
- Any person applies false denomination to the variety, false name of the country, false name and address will be imprisoned from 3 months to 2 years or with a fine from Rs.50,000 to Rs.5 lakh or with both.
- Any person sells the variety with a false denomination will be penalised with an amount of Rs.50,000 to Rs.5 lakh or imprisonment from 6 months to 2 years or with both.
- Any person who falsely represents a variety will be imprisoned from 6 months to 3 years or pay a fine of Rs.1 lakh to Rs.5 lakh or both.
- Any person committing the same offence second time will be imprisoned from 1 year to 3 years or penalised with an amount from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.20 lakh or both.