Seed Variety Licenses

The seed Variety License is a legally binding contract between the PBR owner of the EPR variety or the licensed commercialisation party and the grower. The Variety License contains the terms and conditions that a grower needs to abide by when using a new variety.

Industry standard License

Several commercialisation parties have adopted an industry standard Variety License Agreement. It consists of a standard terms and conditions in the body of the agreement, plus schedules detailing variances related to specific varieties and/or between various PBR owners.

Current Variety Licenses of participating PBR owners or licensed commercialising parties are provided below:

About Plant Breeder’s Rights

Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR) are a form of intellectual property, similar to patents or copyright. PBRs give the holder exclusive marketing rights to a registered plant variety for a period of 20 years (or 25 years in the case of tree or vine species).

PBRs allows the holder to license other persons with exclusive commercial rights, permitting them to:

  • Produce or reproduce the material
  • Condition the material for the purpose of propagation (conditioning includes cleaning, coating, sorting, packaging and grading)
  • Offer the material for sale
  • Sell the material
  • Import the material
  • Export the material, and
  • Stock the material for any of the purposes described above.

PBRs are administered under the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994 (The Act). Application for Rights can be made via Plant Breeder’s Rights Office.

Extent of Rights

PBR protection covers the propagating material of the protected variety, including of essentially derived and dependent varieties. The PBR extends to harvested material, or even the products derived from the harvested material if the PBR holder has not had an opportunity to exercise their rights to the propagating material (eg the propagating material is exported, multiplied or sold without authorisation of the grant holder).

Exceptions to the Rights

Monopoly rights do not extend to the propagating material of the protected plant variety in all circumstances. The following do not infringe the PBR:

  • Use of the variety privately and for non-commercial purposes, for experimental purposes, and for breeding other plant varieties. A variety can be used for these purposes irrespective of the existence of PBR.
  • Use and sale of the propagative material of a protected variety as a food, food ingredient or fuel.

Farmers have the right to condition and save sufficient seed of a protected variety to sow the subsequent crop on their land (or that of a partner or bone fide sharefarmer), unless the crop is declared by regulation to be one to which farm saved seed does not apply. Please refer to Seed Distribution for current arrangements for PBR / EPR varieties.

Enforcement

Apart from civil Federal Court action to recover losses incurred by infringements, any intentional and reckless infringement of a breeder’s rights may attract a penalty of up to $50,000 for individuals and $250,000 for corporations.

Further Information

Plant Breeder’s Rights
IP Australia
PO Box 200, Woden  ACT 2604
Telephone: 1300 651 010
Fax: 02 6283 7999
Web: www.ipaustralia.gov.au