The legislation with regard to plant breeders' rights and admission to the catalogue of varieties is diverse and based on international legislation. There is a national plant variety right (based on the Seeds and Planting Materials Act) and a community plant variety right (based on the Community Plant Variety Regulation). Both are based on the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).

In addition, plant breeders' rights legislation touches on legislation in several other areas of law such as patent, biodiversity and genetic modification legislation.

On this page, you will find the most relevant legislation on national and international plant breeders' rights and the admission of varieties and stands to the catalogue of varieties.

Seeds and Planting Materials Act 2005 c.a.

Plant variety rights

The Board for plant varieties grants national plant breeders' rights. National plant breeders' rights are regulated in Chapter 7 of the 2005 Seeds and Planting Materials Act. The purpose of plant breeders' rights is to protect new plant varieties. The breeder of a plant variety with new characteristics is granted an exploitation monopoly on its propagating material for a certain period of time. This monopoly not only serves as a reward for his breeding work, but also enables the breeder to recoup his investments made.

Moreover, the availability of plant material with new, useful characteristics enables third parties to build on them and thus produce ever better varieties for the benefit of, for example, the food supply.

Admission to the national register of varieties

The Board also decides on the acceptance of varieties into the national varieties register. Admission is regulated in Chapters 4 and 5 of the Act.

Community plant variety rights c.a.

It provides for the possibility of obtaining a plant variety right valid throughout the European Union through one centrally filed application. Implementation is in the hands of the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO), based in Angers.

Community plant variety right vs national plant variety right

A community plant variety right is effective in all EU countries. Previously granted national plant variety rights for a variety become 'dormant' once and for as long as a community plant variety right is in force for that variety. After the grant of a community plant variety right, EU countries can no longer grant national plant variety rights for the variety concerned. In some cases, despite community plant variety rights, there is still a need for the national plant variety rights system. For example, if the breeder considers his interests sufficiently protected by a national plant breeders' right or if costs play a role.

If a right holder decides to give up his community plant variety right after some time, the national plant variety right will revive. In this way, a national right will always remain.