The European Community plant protection rights system has been amended, via article 12 of Regulation 2100/94, and will take effect today (31 January).
Breeders from the 27 EU member states looking to protect exclusive property rights for new varieties of plants will now all use the same application process.
Those from countries outside the EU, which are not members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, will also now be able to apply for a Community Plant Variety right on the same terms.
Previously, these non-EU applicants could ony be granted a title if the European Commission gave a favourable opinion. Such applicants still need to have a procedural representative in the EU.
Applications to the France-based Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) in 2007 were 3,000, an increase of nine per cent on 2006 and of 97.8 per cent on 1996, the first complete year of activity after the establishment of the CPVO.
The reference to the amendment is Council Regulation (EC) No 15/2008 of 20 December 2008, OJ No L8, 11.1.2008, p2.