Protecting knowledge

The Plant Varieties and Farmers Protection Bill is to be tabled in Parliament

Published: Friday 31 December 1999

the Union government is planning to introduce the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Bill (pvp & fr) in the current session of Parliament. The Bill will be empowered to register new and extant plant varieties that are to be protected under sui generis -- a system of its own kind -- in conformity with the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (trips) agreement.

The proposed legislation seeks to ensure that the farmer does not forgo his right to save, use, share or sell farm produce of a variety that is given protection. However, the caveat is that the sale is not for the purpose of reproduction under a commercial marketing arrangement.

The Bill also seeks to establish a pvp & fr authority which can direct any breeder, whose variety is registered, to grant a licence to an applicant to undertake production, distribution and the sale of seeds or other derived propagating material in the event of the breeder not making these available at "reasonable" quantities and price.

It also provides protection to varieties developed by public breeding institutions such as the Indian Council for Agricultural Research to prevent the varieties developed by them from being made freely available for exploitation in other countries.

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