What are Plant Breeders Rights?

Plant breeders rights (PBR) are a part of the intellectual property legislation (UPOV agreement) and allows the breeder of a plant to register a plant as their own property if it meets the required criteria. Once PBR has been granted then the owner of a plant may license companies to grow their variety and collect a royalty on each plant.

Plants may be protected under UK Plant Breeders Rights or under European Plant Variety Rights.

When rights are applied for the plants will be sent for testing at a specialist centre in an appropriate region of Europe and assessed against the following three criteria.

  1. DISTINCT clearly distinguishable by one or more important characteristic from all other varieties whose existence is a matter of common knowledge at the time of application.
  2. UNIFORM sufficiently uniform or homogeneous with regard to the particular features of its sexual reproduction or vegetative propagation.
  3. STABLE must remain true to its description after repeated reproduction or propagation.

PBR is not intended to be a guarantee of the quality of a plant, it only demonstrates that it meets the criteria above. It does however give a breeder an opportunity to get back the investment of plant breeding and ensures that there will be continued focus on developing new and improved plants for the future.

Please note this is intended as a guide only, we strongly recommend using the links to the CPVO & NIAB web sites for full technical details as these may be subject to change.