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Revisions to Plant Variety Regulations Under Consideration

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking input by 10 September on certain proposed revisions to the regulations, fees for services and procedures established under the Plant Variety Protection Act. AMS states that the proposed revisions are needed to conform with recent amendments to the Plant Variety Protection Act, which added authority for the Plant Variety Protection Office to issue certificates of protection for varieties of plants that are reproduced asexually.

Current AMS PVPA “frequently asked questions” specify that plant protection is available for “a unique variety of a sexually reproduced or tuber-propagated plants.” The proposed rule would add references to “asexual reproduction” in order to offer PVPO certificates for asexually reproduced plants, including new varieties made by cuttings, grafting, tissue culture and propagation by root division. AMS notes that these are a significant and growing portion of the plant development industry.

A PVPO certificate allows the breeder to prevent others from selling the variety, importing or exporting it, or using it to produce a new hybrid or variety from it, unless explicit permission is given. The proposed change would allow developers of asexually reproduced varieties to have the same intellectual property rights as other breeders. AMS further notes that PVPO-issued certificates are recognised worldwide and facilitate filing for plant variety protection in other countries.

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