Plant Varieties Act 1997

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1997 c. 66


Plant Varieties Act 1997

1997 Chapter 66

An Act to make provision about rights in relation to plant varieties to make provision about the Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal to extend the time limit for institution of proceedings for contravention of seeds regulations and for connected purposes.

[27th November 1997]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Plant Varieties

Part I

Plant Varieties

Preliminary

Preliminary

S-1 Plant breeders' rights.

1 Plant breeders' rights.

(1) Rights, to be known as plant breeders' rights, may be granted in accordance with this Part of this Act.

(2) Plant breeders' rights may subsist in varieties of all plant genera and species.

(3) For the purposes of this Act, ‘variety’ means a plant grouping within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank, which grouping, irrespective of whether the conditions for the grant of plant breeders' rights (which are laid down in section 4 below) are met, can be—

(a) defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given genotype or combination of genotypes,

(b) distinguished from any other plant grouping by the expression of at least one of those characteristics, and

(c) considered as a unit with regard to its suitability for being propagated unchanged.

S-2 The Plant Variety Rights Office.

2 The Plant Variety Rights Office.

(1) The office known as the Plant Variety Rights Office shall continue in being for the purposes of this Part of this Act under the immediate control of an officer appointed by the Ministers and known as the Controller of Plant Variety Rights (‘the Controller’).

(2) Schedule 1 to this Act (which makes further provision about the Plant Variety Rights Office) shall have effect.

Grant of plant breeders' rights

Grant of plant breeders' rights

S-3 Grant on application.

3 Grant on application.

(1) Subject to this Part of this Act, plant breeders' rights shall be granted to an applicant by the Controller on being satisfied that the conditions laid down in section 4 below are met.

(2) The Controller may by notice require an applicant for the grant of plant breeders' rights to provide him, within such time as may be specified in the notice, with such information, documents, plant or other material, facilities or test or trial results relevant to the carrying out of his func tion under subsection (1) above as may be so specified.

(3) If an applicant fails to comply with a notice under subsection (2) above within the period specified in the notice, the Controller may refuse the application.

S-4 Conditions for the grant of rights.

4 Conditions for the grant of rights.

(1) The conditions which must be met in relation to an application for the grant of plant breeders' rights are—

(a) that the variety to which the application relates is a qualifying variety, and

(b) that the person by whom the application is made is the person entitled to the grant of plant breeders' rights in respect of the variety to which it relates.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above, a variety is a qualifying variety if it is—

(a) distinct,

(b) uniform,

(c) stable, and

(d) new

and Part I of Schedule 2 to this Act has effect for the purpose of determining whether these criteria are met.

(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5) below, the person entitled to the grant of plant breeders' rights in respect of a variety is the person who breeds it, or discovers and develops it, or his successor in title.

(4) If a person breeds a variety, or discovers and develops it, in the course of his employment, then, subject to agreement to the contrary, his employer, or his employer's successor in title, is the person entitled to the grant of plant breeders' rights in respect of it.

(5) Part II of Schedule 2 to this Act shall have effect as respects priorities between two or more persons who have independently bred, or discovered and developed, a variety.

(6) In this section and Schedule 2 to this Act, references to the discovery of a variety are to the discovery of a variety, whether growing in the wild or occurring as a genetic variant, whether artificially induced or not.

S-5 Rights in relation to application period.

5 Rights in relation to application period.

(1) If an application for plant breeders' rights is granted, the holder of the rights shall be entitled to reasonable compensation for anything done during the application period which, if done after the grant of the rights, would constitute an infringement of them.

(2) In subsection (1) above, ‘application period’, in relation to a grant of plant breeders' rights, means the period—

(a) beginning with the day on which details of the application for the grant of the rights are published in the gazette, and

(b) ending with the grant of the rights.

Scope of plant breeders' rights

Scope of plant breeders' rights

S-6 Protected variety.

6 Protected variety.

(1) Plant breeders' rights shall have effect to entitle the holder to prevent anyone doing any of the following acts as respects the propagating material of the protected variety without his authority, namely—

(a) production or reproduction (multiplication),

(b) conditioning for the purpose of propagation,

(c) offering for sale,

(d) selling or other marketing,

(e) exporting,

(f) importing,

(g) stocking for any of the purposes mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (f) above, and

(h) any other act prescribed for the purposes of this provision.

(2) The holder of plant breeders' rights may give authority for the purposes of subsection (1) above with or without conditions or limitations.

(3) The rights conferred on the holder of plant breeders' rights by subsections (1) and (2) above shall also apply as respects harvested material obtained through the unauthorised use of propagating material of the protected variety, unless he has had a reasonable opportunity before the harvested material is obtained to exercise his rights in re lation to the unauthorised use of the propagating material.

(4) In the case of a variety of a prescribed description, the rights conferred on the holder of plant breeders' rights by subsections (1) and (2) above shall also apply as respects any product which—

(a) is made directly from harvested material in relation to which subsection (3) above applies, and

(b) is of a prescribed description,

unless subsection (5) below applies.

(5) This subsection applies if, before the product was made, any act mentioned in subsection (1) above was done as respects the harvested material from which the product was made and either—

(a) the act was done with the authority of the holder of the plant breeders' rights, or

(b) the holder of those rights had a reasonable opportunity to exercise them in relation to the doing of the act.

(6) In this section—

(a) ‘prescribed’ means prescribed by regulations made by the Ministers, and

(b) references to harvested material include entire plants and parts of plants.

S-7 Dependent varieties.

7 Dependent varieties.

(1) The holder of plant breeders' rights shall have, in relation to any variety which is dependent on the protected variety, the same rights as he has under section 6 above in relation to the protected variety.

(2) For the purposes of this section, one variety is dependent on another if—

(a) its nature is such that repeated production of the variety is not possible without repeated use of the other variety, or

(b) it is essentially derived from the other variety and the other variety is not itself essentially derived from a third variety.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) above, a variety shall be deemed to be essentially derived from another variety (‘the initial variety’) if—

(a) it is predominantly derived from—

(i) the initial variety, or

(ii) a variety that is itself predominantly derived from the initial variety,

while retaining the expression of the essential characteristics resulting from the genotype or combination of genotypes of the initial variety,

(b) it is clearly distinguishable from the initial variety by one or more characteristics which are capable of a precise description, and

(c) except for the differences which result from the act of derivation, it conforms to the initial variety in the expression of the essential characteristics that result from the genotype or combination of genotypes of the initial variety.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) above, derivation may, for example, be by—

(a) the selection of—

(i) a natural or induced mutant,

(ii) a somaclonal variant, or

(iii) a variant individual from plants of the initial variety,

(b) backcrossing, or

(c) transformation by genetic engineering.

(5) Subsection (1) above shall not apply where the existence of the dependent variety was common knowledge immediately before the coming into force of this Act.

xceptions

xceptions

S-8 General exceptions.

8 General exceptions.

8. Plant breeders' rights shall not extend to any act done—

(a) for private and non-commercial purposes,

(b) for experimental purposes, or

(c) for the purpose of breeding another variety.

S-9 Farm saved seed.

9 Farm saved seed.

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, plant breeders' rights shall not extend to the use by a farmer for propagating purposes in the field, on his own holding, of the product of the harvest which he has obtained by planting on his own holding propagating material of—

(a) the protected variety, or

(b) a variety which is essentially derived from the protected...

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