Plant Breeder’s Rights
What are Plant Breeder’s Rights?
Plants breeders’ rights are the exclusive commercial rights granted to the owner of a registered plant variety, such as commercial and agricultural varieties.
Plant Breeder’s Rights (‘PBR’) are part of the new intellectual property rights that gained protection in Samoa under the Intellectual Property Act 2011, effective from 1st October 2012. The Act introduced a new system of protection for new plant varieties. A plant breeder, research institution or the Government can register and get protection for new plant varieties developed through local breeding programmes.
To be eligible for protection, the applicant must show that the new plant variety is:
- uniform and
New or Novelty
A plant variety is considered “new” if, at the date of filing the application for a PBR, propagating or harvested material of the variety has not been sold or otherwise disposed of to others, by or with the consent of the breeder, for purposes of exploitation of the variety:
- in Samoa, earlier than 1 year before the date of filing the application; and
- in a territory other than Samoa, than 4 years or, in the case of trees or of vines, earlier than 6 years before the said date.
A plant variety is considered “distinct” if it is clearly distinguishable from any other variety whose existence is a matter of common knowledge at the time of the filing of the application. Common knowledge is to be assumed only where the application leads to the granting of a PBR or to the entering of the other variety in the official register of varieties.
A plant variety is taken to be “uniform” if, subject to the variation that may be expected from the particular features of its propagation, it is sufficiently uniform in its relevant characteristics.
A plant variety is taken to be “stable” if its relevant characteristics remain unchanged after repeated propagation or, in the case of a particular cycle of propagation, at the end of each cycle.
Who can Apply for a Grant of PBRs?
An application for the grant of PBRs in respect of a new variety may be made by or on behalf of any of the following persons, and may be made by that person alone or jointly with anyone else who is a breeder of the new variety:
- a breeder or his or her assignee;
- the Minister responsible for Agriculture, if the Government is the breeder of the new variety or the breeder’s assignee;
- the competent authority according to the laws of the country concerned, if the government of a reciprocating country is the breeder of the new variety or the breeder’s assignee.
Requirements for Registering a Plant Breeder’s Rights
An application may be filed to the Registrar for a right to breed a plant and must be accompanied by the prescribed fees. The written application submitted to the Registrar must contain the following:
- Applicant’s details and details of any agent (plus a written authorisation appointing the representative) ;
- Information about the origins of the plant and the full name of the breeder;
- A request for the grant of the plant breeder’s rights;
- A description of the new variety of plant including its name;
- A sample of the new plant variety referred to in the description of any claim; and
- A statement stating whether or not the new plant variety is based on the knowledge available within any local or indigenous community in Samoa or elsewhere.
Important Information to Note:
When preparing your application for a PBR, please bear in mind the following:
- If the applicant is not the breeder, the request must be accompanied by a statement justifying the applicant’s right to the PBR.
- The description in part (d) above must disclose the new plant variety in a manner which is clear and complete enough for the new plant variety to be recognized.
- A sample submitted by an applicant in accordance with part (e) above, must be provided to the Registrar if he or she thinks it is necessary for the understanding of the new plant variety and must include samples of reproductive material necessary for the reproduction of the plant concerned, in such quantities as the Registrar may require.
- If the application is based on or derived from knowledge available within any local or indigenous community, the Registrar may direct the applicant to provide evidence as to the applicant’s title or authority to make use of such knowledge.