The plant variety right grants protection for the new plant variety in the entire Italian territory (for a total of roughly 324,000 square kilometers and about 60 million inhabitants) and in the State of San Marino, and may be recognized in the Vatican City.
Protectable Plant Varieties
Plant varieties that are new, distinct, stable and uniform are protectable.
It is possible to claim the priority of the first application for protection of the same plant variety previously filed in one of the UPOV Convention member countries, within 12 months of the prior filing date. If, however, it is a first filing, the application for a plant variety right can be the basis for a priority claim when applications are filed for the same variety in other countries party to the UPOV Convention.
The list of countries party to the UPOV Convention (International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants) can be downloaded from the UPOV website (Link.pdf, 20 K).
Who may Apply for an Italian Plant Variety Right
Any natural or legal person of Italian or foreign nationality (constitutor or assignee) may apply for a plant variety right for a new plant variety.
Applicants may be represented only by qualified attorneys holding membership in the Italian Industrial Property Consultants Institute or by attorneys-at-law.
Where to file the Application
A first application for a plant variety right may be filed with the comptent authority of any UPOV Contracting State.
A plant variety is considered to satsify the novelty requirement if its propagating or harvested material has not been sold during the following period before the date of filing the application for a plant variety right:
- in Italy: 1 year
- in any other country: woody varieties 6 years, all other varieties 4 years.
Varieties which, at the time of application for protection, are clearly distinguishable from every other known plant variety are deemed to satisfy the distinctness requirement.
In order to satisfy the stability requirement, the variety’s features must remain stable, even after reproduction and subsequent multiplication.
In order to satisfy the uniformity requirement, the variety must be sufficiently uniform.
The new plant variety must be identified by a variety denomination. The variety denomination must be different from any trademark used for the same variety and owned by that variety’s breeder.
Rights Conferred by the Application
After the publication of the application, the applicant can prevent third parties from using the plant variety and, to that end, bring court actions and request interlocutory injunctions as well as remuneration in case of infringement.
Field trials are carried out on the plant to verify whether it fulfills the requirements of novelty, stability, uniformity and distinctness. This examination is carried out under the supervision and responsibility of the Ministry of Agricultural Policies. Trials may be omitted if they have been already carried out in another UPOV Convention member country, provided that an explicit request is made upon filing, and that the Italian application claims the priority of a foreign application in another UPOV Convention member country.
No opposition procedure exists, but third parties may file observations concerning the lack of one or more requirements for grant of the breeder’s right.
Plant variety rights are granted after the field trials, but exclusive rights can be enforced even pending the grant.
Plant variety rights have a duration of 20 years following the filing date. Duration can be extended to 30 years from filing date for woody varieties.
In addition to the filing fee, annual maintenance fees are required, which are due only as of the grant of the right.
Scope of the Plant Variety Right
The following acts, regarding both the propagating material and the harvested material obtained through unauthorised use of propagating material, require the authorisation of the holder of the breeder’s right:
- production or reproduction
- conditioning for the purpose of propagation or multiplication
- exporting or importing
- stocking for any of the above purposes.
A granted plant variety right or a plant variety right application give the owner the right to request customs protection, involving the seizure of infringing products at customs.
Applicable International Agreements
The Paris Convention and the UPOV Convention.