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Plant variety rights are a form of intellectual property protection granted to breeders of new varieties of plants. In a very general sense, a plant variety is a strain of a plant (or, more often, a crop) that is a pure breed. In other words, for a plant variety to be protected, it must produce the same type of plant in every generation, and should be distinct in appearance and distinguishable from others. Plant variety rights include, inter alia, royalty rights over a certain identified time period and restrictions on the propagation and subsequent use of seeds derived from such varieties.

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001 became effective from October 19, 2006. It provides for:

  1. Filing of applications for registration of any plant variety, which is an extant variety or a farmers' variety of such genera and species as may be notified by the Indian government.
  2. Filing of applications by any person or any farmer or community of farmers or any university or publicly funded agricultural institution claiming to be the breeder of the variety or an assignee thereof.
  3. Term of registration shall be 9 years for trees and vines and 6 years for other crops.
  4. Renewal subject to the condition that the total period of validity shall not exceed:

18 years from the date of registration of the variety in the case of trees and vines;
15 years from the date of notification by the Central Government in the case of extant variety;
15 years from the date of registration of the variety in other cases.
Exclusive right on the breeder or his successor, his agent or licensee, to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the variety.
Restriction of registration of a plant variety involving technology such as 'genetic use restriction technology' and 'terminator technology', which are injurious to the life or health of human beings, animals or plants.
Priority for a period of 12 months to citizens of convention countries


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