The European Parliament has voted for a 30-year protection term under the Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVR) for breeders of asparagus, flower bulbs, woody small fruits, and woody ornamentals.
The extension from a 25-year to a 30-year CPVR term was passed by an overwhelming majority in the EU Parliament (641 out of 704 MEPs) and adopted by the European Council.
The extension will apply to the CPVR in the concerned species, both currently in force and issued in the future.
Organisations such as Euroseeds and Plantum, and CIOPORA (the International Association of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Horticultural Plants) have campaigned for the change.
They say it will accommodate the needs of breeders of varieties with especially long breeding and stock-building cycles, allowing for equitable re-funding of research and investment in the breeding programmes.
The prolonged term of protection and variety exploitation will also allow breeders – many of whom are small and medium enterprises – to explore new business opportunities, and reinvest in the breeding of new and improved varieties, the bodies say.
The move acknowledges the challenges and high cost associated with breeding the species in question, the campaigners say.
“This is a great assurance for breeders of these species, and a positive signal to the entire breeder community that their needs are being acknowledged by the policymakers,” said Dr Edgar Krieger, CIOPORA secretary general.
“Effective IP protection is key for ensuring that the European SMEs are ready to rise to the challenge and deliver tangible results, for instance for the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy,” he added.
Dr Krieger has extensive experience in the field of IP protection for plant innovations.
The regulation is expected to come into force before the end of the year, 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The list of the varieties in the affected groups of species will be released by the Community Plant Variety Office, which will work with its registrar to identify the qualifying crops, and update the terms of the corresponding CPVR titles.
The titleholders will be notified in due course.