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Plant Variety Rights

In the past, breeding new plant varieties by traditional methods via large-scale production in the search for pest resistant crops made it easily foreseeable that some form of protection needed to be provided. As a direct result, "plant variety rights" were granted. A plant variety right is basically an alternative form of an industrial property right created to protect specific varieties produced using traditional breeding methods. Plant variety protection is not as broad as patent protection as it specifically protects only the variety in question.

The European Patent Convention excludes the patenting of plant varieties. However, it is encouraging to note that a patent claiming a transgenic plan has been granted by the European Patent Office, thus opening the way for further European patent protection of transgenic plants. In addition to the U.S., patent protection is available for plant varieties and transgenic plants in other countries of the world, such as Japan and Australia. The precise protection varies in each country.

Method of Plant Culture

Patent protection can be obtained in the U.S. and Europe for methods of plant culture, such as methods involving the use of certain plant hormones and particular sucrose concentrations or by using a defined osmotic pressure in tissue cultures.