Canada has ratified the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. The treaty will come into force on July 19, 2015. Canada previously amended the Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) Act via Bill C-18, which came into force in February 2015, to bring the legislation in line with the Convention.

Under the PBR Act, in order to obtain exclusive rights to a plant variety, a plant breeder must invent a plant that is: new, distinct, uniform and stable. The breeder’s right to exclusivity will extend for 20 years, or 25 years in the case of trees and vines. If exclusive rights are granted, the rights holder may authorize a third party to exercise those rights; however, use of the protected material for private and non-commercial purposes, experimental purposes, or for the purpose of breeding new plant varieties does not constitute infringement. In addition, the amendments legislatively entrench the farmer’s privilege, a previously implicit restriction to plant breeder’s rights, which allows farmers to store and use their harvested material for the subsequent propagation of the plant variety.

The International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants can be found here.

For more information regarding the impacts of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, on Canadians, click here.

By Alexandra Lyn

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