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CIOPORA Advocates for PBR Upgrade, Better Enforcement before High-level MARA & NFGA Officials in Bei

Short report on 2019 CIOPORA Mission in China

September 11, Beijing – A CIOPORA group comprised of 13 CIOPORA members and respectively their Chinese representatives led by Secretary General Dr Edgar Krieger met with high-ranking officials of China’s MARA and NFGA at the MARA premises in Beijing. In total 20 governmental representatives participated in the meeting. The goal of the meeting was to further strengthen the relationships with the Chinese authorities, to discuss CIOPORA’s input to the draft PBR regulation and the future development of the draft, and to report on the breeders’ experiences with exploitation and enforcement of Plant Breeders’ Rights in China.

In the course of the meeting, the officials confirmed that CIOPORA’s comments to the draft regulation submitted in March 2019 were taken into consideration and the draft was amended accordingly. CIOPORA will be able to submit further comments to the second draft regulation once it passes through appropriate channels and is returned from the Standing Committee of MARA. If adopted in the current draft, the new PBR regulation would bring the PBR system of China to the level of UPOV 1991 or even above, which CIOPORA has been advocating for. Download PDF draft PBR regulation.

A presentation by Micha Danziger, Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm, kicked off a discussion on EDV, a topic of the high significance to CIOPORA in light of the upcoming UPOV Seminar on October 30 in Geneva. Dr CUI Yehan’s (MARA) statement on EDV was in line with the CIOPORA’s position on the subject, where all mutants, natural or induced, are deemed EDV. The current draft PBR regulation largely reflects this position. Cui Yehan also stated that China will support CIOPORA in its request to revisit the UPOV Explanatory Notes on EDV.

CIOPORA members were keen to learn about the DUS test procedure, which was elaborated on in greater detail (Download PDF). While NFGA already takes over DUS test reports from foreign PBR offices (e.g. Canada and Australia), MARA was considering to start doing so in the near future. CIOPORA emphasized that extending protection to all genera and species was an important step as still many species bred i. a. by CIOPORA members were not eligible for PBR protection in China. MARA also commented on the current backlog with PBR applications, admitting that the no-fee-policy led to a surge in applications and the competent authorities were at the capacity limits. MARA is working on finding appropriate solutions.

Enforcement of PBR in China was a priority on the meeting’s agenda, with CIOPORA seeking to increase MARA’s and NFGA awareness towards the scope of alleged unauthorized propagation and difficulties experienced by breeders while trying to enforce their IP rights in China. Brian McElroy of Driscoll’s held a presentation on the company’s IP strategy in China and its difficulties to enforce the rights. The CIOPORA members’ reports on problems encountered in the area of PBR enforcement were met with understanding, whereas the Chinese officials admitted the existence of loopholes and expressed willingness to extend their support.

Stay tuned for a detailed report.


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