Plant Breeders’ Rights

Plant Breeders’ rights are a form of intellectual property rights which allow plant breeders to protect their plant varieties. To be eligible for Plant Breeders’ rights, a variety must be new, distinct, uniform and stable. Once granted, the breeder gets exclusive rights to the propagating material of their variety for a period of 25 years for tree or vine varieties, and 20 years for all other varieties. These exclusive rights include the right to sell, produce and reproduce, import and export propagating material of the variety as well as the right to authorize others to do the same.

Recent changes to the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act (PBRA):

Significant amendments have been made recently to Plant Breeders’ rights and the terms of protection. The following is a summary of some of the major changes that came into effect in February of 2015:

  • A new grace period which allows applicants to sell a plant variety within Canada for up to a year prior to the date an application is accepted;
  • A grace period which allows applicants to sell a plant variety outside of Canada for a period of up to six years prior to the filing of an application for tree and vine varieties, and a period of up to four years for all other varieties;
  • An increased term of protection from 18 years to 25 years for tree and vine varieties, and 20 years for all other varieties;
  • Provisional protection from the filing date of the application to the date of grant which is a form of interim protection that allows a breeder to seek remuneration from any person which, who carries out acts which, if rights were granted, would require the rights holder's authorization;
  • Limits on rights and farmer privilege; and
  • Expansion on the nature and scope of plant breeders’ exclusive rights to include reproduction, exportation, importation, conditioning, and stocking of propagating material of the plant variety.

These changes were conducted to meet international standards and strengthen the protection of plant varieties.

Our Plant Breeder’s Rights practice group is comprised of highly educated professionals with strong experience in the application, use, licensing and sale of Plant Breeders’ rights. They hold graduate and doctorate degrees in organic and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry and molecular genetics. This expertise allows our group to advise clients on all matters of Plant Breeders’ rights including biotechnology, food science, materials, plant genetics and plant variety. Our clients range from individuals and small businesses to major corporations, as well as various universities.

Our Services

The following is a list of services that members of our Plant Breeder’s Rights practice group provide:

  • Preparing and prosecuting patent applications worldwide
  • Preparing and negotiating licensing agreements
  • Conducting due diligence investigations
  • Providing patentability, validity, and infringement searches and opinions
  • Providing strategic advice on intellectual property rights
  • Enforcing intellectual property rights

Practice Group Leader

Micheline Gravelle Micheline Gravelle
B.Sc., M.Sc. (Immunology)
Managing Partner