Plant variety rights

Plant variety rights gives the breeder exclusive control over the propagating, the processing and the harvested material. The breeders can enforce their rights and demand indemnity for infringements. In many ways the plant variety rights are similar to patents, but it has exemptions that are not in the patent laws. Usually, these exemptions are for farmers who may store seeds for their own use. Another exemption is the one that allows other breeders to use protected varieties as sources to create new varieties of plants.

The Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO), is an European Union agency which manages a system of plant variety rights covering the European member states. The purpose of the agency is to have a system, that allows intellectual property rights to be granted for plant varieties and valid in every member state, for the protection of plant variety rights.

In May 2005, the European Council approved to the European Community’s accession to the International Convention for the Protection of the New Varieties of Plants.

In 2005, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV),an intergovernmental organization with plenty of nations as members, completed the UPOV Report on the Impact of Plant Variety Protection. This is a very profound report, which summarizes how the protection works for the members of UPOV. The report addressed also the extension of the protection to all plant species. In April 2011, GHK Consulting, an organization hired by the Commission, published a report named “Evaluation of the Community Plant Variety Rights Acquis". In this, they are evaluating the plant variety rights. The study states that there is no direct evidence that these rights stimulates innovation, and that no quantitative data have been provided to prove that it does.

The Swedish Pirate Party thinks that monopolies of knowledge and ideas stanch innovations, and are problematic from a pure humanitarian perspective. The Swedish Pirate Party thinks that intellectual property rights is an unnecessary restriction in the freedom of knowledge, and therefore the monopolies of knowledge and ideas should not exist. This is an important issue to the party.


Amelia's first question (2012-06-04) is whether or not the Commission intends to produce the quantitative data needed in order to assess if community plant variety protection is fulfilling its purpose, and why not if the Commission does not intend to do this. The Commission answered that they will examine the need to produce more detailed quantitative data on the Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVR).

The next question (2012-08-31) is about why the investigating consultants who were hired to write the report on CPVR failed to find the evaluation from 2005. The Commission says that the consultants listed the UPOV-study in the annex of their report. Amelia also wants to know how it is that stakeholders in the industry see other benefits with the legislation than the legislators themselves, and the Commission “considers that the views expressed by breeders and authorities of Member States are not mutually exclusive.”

The third question (2012-10-15) is a follow-up to the first one, and Amelia wants to know when the Commission expects to be able to answer the question of whether the need of quantitative data exists. The Commission answered that quantitative data were available, and therefore the Commission believed that no further data needs to be generated. However, the consultants have not analyzed the data in question.

In Amelia’s fourth (2013-01-22) about plant variety rights, she refers to Section 3.2 in the “Evaluation of the Community Plant Variety Rights Acquis” report and lists some data the consultants have analyzed, including data from the CPVO. She wants to know what additional data the CPVO provides that will prove that the Community Plant Variety Rights has contributed to stimulate the creating of new plant varieties. The Commission answered that the additional data is available on the CPVO website, and lists some of the data available.