Plant Varieties

1. What is Plant Variety Protection?

A plant variety protects the intellectual property for plant breedings. The protection for a plant variety shall serve the advancement in the breeding field in agriculture and horticulture.

2. Requirements for Protection

A plant variety may be protected if it is distinctive, homogeneous, consistent and new and in addition is denoted by a registerable variety name.

3. Filing Procedure

Plant variety protection can be applied for at the  Federal Plant Variety Office (Bundessortenamt)  on the basis of the plant variety law (SortG).

The examination for distinctiveness, homogeneity and consistency takes place according to the occurrence of the features of the plant variety. If possible, for the examination and exact description of the plant variety features are used that are influenced only to a minor extent by environmental factors. Those predominantly are morphological and phenological features which exhibit a sufficient variation between the varieties of a plant species.

The occurrence of the features is recorded through cultivation outdoors or within a greenhouse or through additional analysis in a laboratory. The features essential for a particular plant species are specified in national and international guidelines.

The duration of the plant variety protection is, in general, 25 years, however for hops, potatoes, wine and tree species 30 years.

4. Effects of Protection

The plant variety protection gives the owner of the plant variety the exclusive right to commercially use reproduction material (plants or plant parts including seeds) of a protected plant variety. The use of a protected plant variety for breeding a new plant variety, however, does not require authorization by the plant variety owner, although there is a particular protection for protected incest lines for the breeding of hybrids.

5. Plant Variety Protection outside of Germany

Plant variety protection can be obtained also outside of Germany.