What are plant breeders rights?

A plant breeders’ right (PBR) is a form of intellectual property right granted to the breeder of a new plant variety which gives them exclusive rights to perform certain acts concerning the exploitation of the protected variety.

In Zimbabwe, PBR’s are governed by the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act and the Plant Breeders’ Rights Regulations, 1998 (Statutory Instrument 113 of 1998).

What is the procedure for obtaining a PBR?

Applications for PBRs are made to the Registrar for PBRs and must contain information pertaining to the origins of the plant and the full name of the breeder. Once the application has been made the next stage is examination where the Registrar shall determine whether the plant concerned should be regarded as a new variety of a prescribed kind; whether the applicant of the right is entitled to do so under the abovementioned Act; whether the variety belongs to the plant general or species listed in the Schedule of protected plant varieties in terms of the Plant Breeders’ Rights Regulations, 1998; whether the variety is inventive; and whether the name of the variety is properly chosen.

The Registrar may exercise his discretion to either grant or refuse the application. If the application is accepted, a notice shall be published bearing the name of the applicant and stating his intention to register a new plant variety.

The application shall be subject to opposition for a period of three months from the date of publication. Within that stipulated period, any person can lodge an objection to the application in writing with the Registrar.

In the event that no opposition is noted during the opposition period, the Registrar shall grant the PBR, issue a certificate of registration and publish a notice.

PBRs are valid for a period of 20 years from the date of grant and renewable for an additional five years thereafter subject to justification by the applicant and the Registrar’s discretion.

This article has been written for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. For expert advice, contact our Intellectual Property team.

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