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October 13, 2021 - Global, Agtech, Regulatory, Intellectual Property

European Union Adopts Regulation to Extend Term of Community Plant Variety Rights in Europe for Varieties of Certain Plant Species

Planting the Seeds of Change

10/27/2021 Update: The adopted regulation ((EU) 2021/1873) is now officially published in the Journal of the EU.

In accordance with the vote of the Council of the European Union on October 5, 2021, the European Union has adopted a new regulation aimed at extending the term of protection provided by Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVR) under Regulation (EC) No. 2100/1994, for varieties of certain plant species (CPVR Extension Regulation), which is available here: 2021/0019(COD).  The CPVR Extension Regulation enters into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The plant species benefitting from the CPVR Extension Regulation are Asparagus officinalis, L. (asparagus), and the species groups of flower bulbs, woody small fruits, and woody ornamentals. For varieties of these species and groups of species, the CPVR term originally granted under Article 19(1) of Regulation (EC) No. 2100/94 is extended by five years, from 25 years to 30 years.

On the date the CPVR Extension Regulation enters into force, this term extension will apply to both new CPVR granted on or after that date and existing CPVR for varieties of these species (according to recital (4) of the CPVR Extension Regulation). According to Article 2 of the CPVR Extension Regulation, however, the extension of the CPVR term may be reduced if national plant variety rights already existed for a plant variety before the grant of the CPVR.

These particular species and species groups are the focus of the CPVR Extension Regulation because technical problems arise in the breeding of varieties of these species “due to complex genetic backgrounds or due to the slow or technically complicated reproduction” according to the recitals of the CPVR Extension Regulation. As a result, once CPVR are granted, it takes much longer for varieties of these species to become profitable for the breeder than for varieties of most other species. The CPVR Extension Regulation aims to create incentives for the breeding of varieties of these more challenging species. Extending the duration of the CPVR protection will mean that the holder of the CPVR can profit from these varieties over a longer period of time.