Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

Lockdown Notification: Plant Breeders’ Rights

Intellectual Property Attorneys

Delivery of application forms and seed

This serves to notify all clients that during Level 4 of the Lockdown,

  • Applications in terms of the Genetically Modified Act
  • Applications in terms of the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act
  • Seed submitted for Evaluations in terms of the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act and the Plant Improvement Act
  • Any other relevant documentation

may be delivered to our offices situated at Harvest House, 30 Hamilton Street between 8:30 and 11:30 as follows:

Office No. 167: on Mondays
Office No. 255: on Thursdays

Alternate arrangements may be made by contacting:

NompumeleloM@dalrrd.gov.za for GMO Act applications

ElnaDB@dalrrd.gov.za for PBR Applications and seed.

Issued by Directorate: Genetic Resources on 20 May 2020

Intellectual Property rights for Plant Breeds

Plant breeders have intellectual property rights for new plant varieties. Breeders of new plant varieties are granted rights for protection against exploitation. If you breed a plant variety and would like to obtain financial reward for your efforts, you must register that variety with the Registrar for Plant Breeders. Once you have registered a plant variety, it becomes your intellectual property. Any individual breeder or breeding institution may apply for a plant breeder’s right. Foreign breeders can only apply through an agent residing in South Africa. A Plant variety is considered new if the propagating material (seed or cutting from a plant) of a variety has not been sold in South Africa for longer than 1 year and the propagating material of a variety of a tree or of a vine has not been commercialised in another for more than 6 years, or in the case of any other plant for more than 4 years. Plant breeders are only granted rights for kinds of plant that are declared in terms of the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act, 1976 (Act 15 of 1976). 

Requirements for Plant Breeds:

To be granted plant breed rights, plant varieties must be new, distinct, uniform, stable and have an acceptable denomination. A variety is considered:

  • NEW if the propagating material
    • of a variety has not been sold in South Africa for longer than one year.
    • of a variety of a tree or of a vine has not been commercialised in another country for more than six years, or in the case of any other plant for more than four years.
  • DISTINCT if it is clearly distinguishable from any other variety of the same species.
  • STABLE if the plants of the particular variety still look like the original plants after repeated cultivation.
  • UNIFORM if the plants of a variety look similar and are sufficiently uniform in relevant characteristics.
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