Intellectual property rights over plant varieties in the UK are known as plant breeders’ rights (PBR). The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) awards rights to the UK.
Adding a plant variety to the UK’s national lists lets you market them. It has a different application process that is separate to plant breeders’ rights. Read guidance on how to add a new plant variety to the national lists.
You can apply for plant breeders’ rights and national listing at the same time for agricultural and vegetable varieties. If you do, you’ll only have to pay for the cost of one application.
Applying for plant breeders’ rights and national listing separately, have to pay the cost of 2 applications.
Who can apply for PBR
You can apply you’ve:
- bred or developed a plant variety
- chosen by the breeder as their successor
You cannot apply for rights to a plant have bred, discovered, or developed for a company that employs you. The employer must apply for the rights.
After applying for plant breeders’ rights, the plant variety must be tested to check if it’s a new variety. This is known as DUS (distinct, uniform, and stable) testing.
You can get rights for new plant varieties, including genetically modified varieties. Cannot get rights for a variety that has been sold or used for commercial use:
- in the UK for more than 1 year before you apply
- outside the UK for more than 4 years before you apply (6 years for trees and vines)
The date the PBR application is received is known as a priority date. It gives you rights over a plant variety from that date if you are granted PBR. The date applied is known as the date of the UK application.
After the priority date no one, without your authority, can:
- produce or reproduce the plant variety
- propagate the plant variety
- offer for sale the plant variety
- sell or market the plant variety
- export the plant variety
- import the plant variety
- stock the plant variety
You can take someone to court if there is any infringement after the priority date.
For more information: