5 January 2018

Agricultural Innovation in Yorkshire - Protecting New Plant and Seed Varieties

Farmland in East Yorkshire
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Jane Lambert

I learned today from The Business Desk Yorkshire that Yorkshire has a small but growing science park specializing in agri-food innovation. The National Agri-Food Innovation Campus ("NFIC") occupies an 80-acre site at Sand Hutton near York. According to the occupants page of its website it has attracted 14 tenants including 4 government agencies and a firm of patent attorneys.

In this country, investment in developing new varieties of plants is protected by the Plant Varieties Act 1997 and Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 of 27 July 1994 on Community plant variety rights (“the Community plant variety regulation”).  The UK is also party to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants which protects investment new plant varieties internationally. I have written a number of articles on this legislation all of which can be accessed from my Plant Breeders' Right page.

S.6 (1) of the 1997 Act provides:
"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."
Actions to restrain infringement or to recover damages for past infringements of those rights must be brought in the Patents Court or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (see CPR 63.2 (1) (b) (iii). These rights can be assigned, licensed or charged just like any other intellectual property right.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or plant breeders' rights in general should call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.