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Plant Variety Rights

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Plant Variety Right is an exclusive right granted to breeders of new varieties to exploit their varieties and has features that are in common with patents for industrial inventions. Both forms of protection grant to their holders a form of exclusive right to pursue innovative activity. It is a form of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) which is governed by the Protection of New Plant Varieties Act 2004 (PNPV).

The scope of a breeder’s right extends to acts carried out on a commercial basis including producing or reproducing, conditioning for the purpose of propagation, offering for sale, marketing, exporting, importing and stocking the material for the earlier activities. Hence, unauthorized conduct of such acts will constitute an infringement under the PNPV.

The condition for registration of new plant varieties and the granting of breeder’s right is that the plant variety is new, distinct, uniform and stable. Notwithstanding where a plant variety is bred, or discovered and developed by farmers, local community or indigenous people, the plant may be registered as a new plant variety and granted a breeder’s right if the plant variety is new, distinct and identifiable.

The PNPV came into effect when Malaysia fulfilled its obligation under Article 27.3 of the TRIPS Agreement which stipulated that member countries shall provide for the protection of plant varieties by a patent or by an effective sui generis system or by any combination thereof.

The duration of breeder’s rights to a registered plant variety shall be within the below mentioned years from the date of filing:

(a)  15 years for a registered plant variety that is new, distinct and identifiable;

(b)  20 years for a registered plant variety that is new, distinct, uniform and stable;

(c)  25 years for a registered plant variety in respect of trees or vines.