Sunday, 9 December 2012



   D Prasath, Johnson K George and B Sasikumar

   Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode

The Plant Variety Protection (PVP) was brought to focus by the TRIPS agreement which is part of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) agreement. Under the TRIPS agreement [Section 27(3)(b)], all the member countries of WTO are required to provide protection for their new plant varieties through Patents or effective ‘sui generis system’ or combination of both. Since TRIPS do not define sui generis or ‘prescribe any model” of effective sui generis system, thus the member countries need to develop their own system of protection with legislation.

The Government of India has enacted legislation for protection of plant varieties as ‘Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001. This act provides the principles and procedures for variety testing in India. The bill was passed by Parliament on 9th August, 2001. The above Act was enforced on 30th October, 2001. The Rules under the Act were notified on 12th September, 2003. The rules provide the manner and procedures for registration of plant varieties. Under the Act the new plant varieties could be Registered (Section 95) by the PPV&FR Authority and registration of plant varieties was launched on 20th February, 2007. Under this Act, protection by registration shall be provided to all categories of plants except microorganisms. It covers new variety, extant variety, farmers’ variety. The Act is unique in a sense that it protects rights of not only breeders but farmers and researchers as well. The Indian legislation is the first in the world to grant formal rights to farmers in a way that their self-reliance is not jeopardized. What is significant and positive about this legislation is that it charts its own course, deviating from the norms set by the Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV).

Farmers’ Rights

·         Right to save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell farm produce including seed or registered variety.

·         Right to register farmer’s variety.

·         Benefit sharing for use of farmers’ varieties in creating new commercial variety.

·         Right to claim compensation for under performance of registered variety from its promised level.

·         Requirement to seek consent of farmer(s), when farmer variety is used to develop an EDV.

·         Reward and recognition for undertaking conservation of land races and related wild species.

·         Exclusion from paying fee in any legal proceedings in Tribunal and Higher Courts.

Communities’ Right

The Act provides recognition of the role of traditional communities in conserving and preserving genetic resources of land races and wild relatives. The contribution of village or local communities in evolution of a variety shall be compensated. The compensation shall be determined by PPV authority and will be deposited in gene fund.

Plant Breeders’ Right (PBR)

The applicant who is granted with the certificate of registration on a candidate plant variety is conferred with PBR on that variety. PBR is an exclusive right on the breeder, his successor, agent or licensee to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the variety.

Researchers’ Right (RR)

Any variety registered under this Act could be freely accessed and used for conducting experiment or research by any person, including its use as parental line for breeding new variety, except repeated use of a registered variety as a parental line for commercial production of the said new variety. For the latter use, prior authorization from the concerned PBR holder is required.

Plant variety registration in India

Under the ‘Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights’ Act (PPV&FR) protection by registration of new plant variety is provided if it conforms to the criteria of distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS). The examination of a variety for DUS generates a description of a variety, using its relevant characteristics by which it can be described as a variety in terms of the Act.

The Central Government issues notification in official Gazettes specifying the genera and species for the purpose of registration of varieties. So far, the Central Government has notified 54 crop species for the purpose of registration. The PPV&FR Authority has developed “Guidelines for the Conduct of Species Specific “Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability,” tests or “Specific Guidelines”, for individual crop species.

For registration of a plant variety the following prerequisites has to be completed:

·         Denomination assigned to such variety.

·         Accompanied by an affidavit that variety does not contain any gene or gene sequences involving terminator technology.

·         Complete passport data of parental lines from which the variety has been derived along with its geographical location in India and all such information relating to the contribution if any, of any farmer (s), village, community, institution or organization etc in breeding, evolving or developing the variety.

·         Characteristics of variety with description for Novelty, Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability.

·         A declaration that the genetic material used for breeding of such variety has been lawfully acquired.

·         A breeder or other person making application for registration shall disclose the use of genetic material conserved by any tribal or rural families for improvement of such variety.

Application for registration of plant varieties (Form I - for registration of new variety, extant variety and farmer’s variety and; Form II - for essentially derived varieties (EDVs); Technical Questionnaire attached with Form I/Form II – for detailed information of the concerned variety) should be accompanied with the fee of registration prescribed by the Authority.


Type of variety
Fees for Registration
Extant Variety notified under
section 5 of the Seeds Act,
Rs. 1000/-
New Variety/Essentially
Derived Variety (EDV)
Individual Rs. 5000/-
Educational Rs. 7000/-
Commercial Rs.10000/-
Extant Variety about which
there is common knowledge
Individual Rs. 2000/-
Educational Rs. 3000/-
Commercial Rs. 5000/-
Farmers’ variety
No fee

Authority has 52 DUS test Centers for different crops with a mandate for maintaining and multiplication of reference collection, example varieties and generation of database for DUS descriptors as per DUS guidelines of respective crops. The list of DUS test centers is available on the webpage of the Authority (

Applications which have fulfilled all requirements and have been finally accepted by the Registrar for registration were issued Certificates of Registration. The initial certificate of registration issued will be valid for nine years in case of trees and vines and six years in case of other crops. It may be reviewed and renewed for the remaining period on payment of renewal fees subject to the condition that total period of validity shall not exceed eighteen years in case of trees and vines from the date registration of the variety, fifteen years from the date of notification of variety under the Seeds Act, 1966 and in other cases fifteen years from the date of registration of the variety.

Small cardamom

The Central Government has notified small cardamom in official Gazettes for the purpose of registration of varieties under PPV&FR Act, 2001 on 30 April, 2010. The test guidelines developed by Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode was finalized by the Task Force (7/2007) constituted by PPV & FR, Authority. In pursuance of the notification, the specific “Guidelines for the Conduct of Test for Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability on small cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum Maton)” was published in ‘Plant Variety Journal of India Vol. - 03, No. – 10, October, 2009’. The registration is now open for all varieties, hybrids and parental lines of small cardamom.

Cardamom Research Centre, Appangala, Kodagu, Karnataka – 571 201 ( Indian Institute of Spices Research,Kozhikode) and Indian Cardamom Research Institute (Spices Board), Myladumpara, Kailasanadu P.O., Idukki, Kerala - 685553 are identified as Nodal DUS Test Centre and the other DUS test centre, respectively for DUS testing, maintaining and multiplication of reference collection, example varieties and generation of database for DUS descriptors.

As on date, based on the recommendation of the Extant Variety Recommendation Committee, duly constituted by the PPV&FR Authority, the application of ‘Appangala-1’(‘Kudagu Suvasini’ or CCS-1),a variety released by the Cardamom Research Centre, Appangala, (Indian Institute of

Spices Research, Kozhikode) for extant variety [notified under Seeds Act, 1966] is accepted by the Registrar, Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Authority and advertised in ‘Plant Variety Journal of India Vol. - 06, No. – 03, March 01, 2012’.

Expected outcome of PPV&FR Act implementation

·         Establishment of an effective system for protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants.

·         To recognize and protect the rights of the farmers in respect of their contribution made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new plant varieties.

·         The protection of the plant breeders’ rights is necessary to stimulate investment for research and development, both in the public and private sector, for the development of new plant varieties required for accelerated agricultural development in the country.

·         Protection will facilitate the growth of the seed industry in the country, which will ensure the availability of high quality seeds and planting material to the farmers.


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