Deal or no-deal: Post-Brexit plant breeders’ rights scenarios

By Micaela Filippo

The UK government has indicated that all CPVRs granted before 29 January 2019 will continue to be protected in the UK.

In view of the upcoming (and unstoppable?) Brexit, the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) has published an announcement regarding the future of the Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVR) in the UK.

The announcement reads that in the case of a no-deal scenario, “in order to ensure that protection is afforded in the UK for varieties which have been granted Community plant variety rights as from 29 January 2019, a new application to the competent UK authority must be made.”

This announcement is based on a prior statement by the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), according to which “all varieties with a Community plant variety right granted by 29 January 2019 will continue to be protected in the UK by giving them rights under UK legislation. No action will be required by right holders”.

This means that a CPVR title granted before January 29, 2019 will be transformed automatically into an equal UK title without any further action required from title holders. For CPVR titles issued on and after January 29, 2019, applicants will have to submit new applications to the competent UK authority using the same priority date and Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) test. This means that, moving forward in order to acquire protection both in the EU and the UK, breeders will have to file two applications in accordance with the respective procedures.

Due to the current lack of clarity surrounding Brexit, the exact details of this policy and its implementation, such as the situation with fees, remain unclear. It is expected that in the following weeks the authorities will provide further instructions.

A guide to Brexit

In case you still feel confused by the latest Brexit topsy-turvy, the International Community of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Ornamental and Fruit Varieties (CIOPORA) has prepared a summary of both deal and a no-deal scenarios.

It should be noted that this guide is based on the parties’ currently known positions and on the Withdrawal Agreement (agreed by the parties but currently “on hold”).

All points of the analysis may be subject to change in the course of the following weeks.

Regardless of the final outcome (deal or a no-deal),  all CPVR titles in force will remain valid in the EU, irrespective of the title-holder’s country of origin and the office where the technical examination was conducted.

The CIPORA analysis may be downloaded here.

For Brexit-related CPVO announcements, please visit this link.