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China Improves its Plant Variety Protection with New Seed Law

China writes a new chapter in its system of Plant Variety Protection (PVP) by revising its Seed Law (December 24), that will come into force on March 1, 2022. The law, inter alia, tackles the Government's goals as to the PVP improvement, promotion of plant breeding and plant research, and incentivizing innovation.

The law contains a number of important improvements to Plant Breeders' Rights.

In addition to propagating material, the scope of the right will now also include harvested material. This will apply where harvested material is obtained from unauthorized use of propagating material and where the breeder has not had a reasonable opportunity to exercise their right in respect of that propagating material. This provision is in line with the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention.

Previously, only production and sale of propagating material was reserved for the breeder. The revised law extends the rights of breeders to include the offering for sale, import and export, and storage for these purposes. The law also clarifies that the breeder may license his right to third parties and collect royalties.

One of the most significant improvements in the revised law is the introduction of the protection of Essentially Derived Varieties (EDV). As provided in UPOV 1991, the commercialization of an EDV shall require the consent of the IP right holder of the initial Variety. An EDV shall be:

  • predominantly derived from the Initial Variety or a variety which itself is predominantly derived from the Initial Variety,