After the grant of the plant variety right, the plant variety is comprehensively protected in the entire territory of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden (for a total of 4.326.000 square kilometers and 446 million inhabitants).
Protectable Plant Varieties
Plant varieties that are new, distinct, stable and uniform are protectable.
It is possible to claim the priority of an earlier filing in one of the member countries of the European Union or of the UPOV Convention (Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties), within 12 months.
Member States of the UPOV Convention
The list of Member States of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants may be downloaded from the UPOV web site (.pdf, 20 K).
Who May Apply for a Community Plant Variety Right
Any natural or legal person who is a citizen or resident of a member country of the European Union or the UPOV Convention, or of any other country guaranteeing reciprocity of treatment, may apply for a Community plant variety right.
Where to file the Application
Applications may be filed at the Community Office for Plant Varieties (whose head offices are located in Angers, France) or at the national bodies of the countries of the European Union delegated by the Community Office.
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 Community plant variety right:
- in European Union states: 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 varietal denomination which must be easily distinguishable from any trademark used for the same variety.
Effects of the Application
After the publication of the application and pending grant, the Community plant variety right confers a limited protection on the basis of which the applicant may request reasonable compensation for acts on the part of third parties which, once protection is granted, are considered an infringement of plant variety rights.
The official languages to be used in procedures before the Community Office for Plant Varieties are the official languages of the European Union.
Examination is carried out to verify the fulfillment of the requirements of novelty, stability, uniformity and distinctness. Availability of the variety denomination is also checked.
Publication of the Application
Publication of the application takes place in the Official Bulletin of the Community Office for Plant Varieties.
Any third party may file an opposition to the grant of a Community plant variety right until a decision is issued on the grant. Oppositions regarding variety denominations must be filed within 3 months of publication of the variety denomination in the Official Bulletin.
If the application is neither denied nor opposed, or if the opposition is denied, the grant of the certificate of Community protection for the plant variety takes place.
Rights Conferred by a Community Plant Variety Right
The Community plant variety right confers upon the holder exclusive rights on the material for propagation of the variety in the entire territory of the European Union.
A Community plant variety right has a duration 25 years from the date of grant, and can be extended to 30 years for ligneous stemmed varieties.
Assignment is allowed only to natural or legal persons entitled to apply for a Community plant variety right.
Licensing can involve all or a portion of the Community plant variety right and can be exclusive or non exclusive.
A granted plant variety right or a plant variety right application gives 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.