Plant registration office plans fee rise

The Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) is to increase fees amid Brexit uncertainty.

Graham Spencer
Graham Spencer

CPVO said: "For the breeding industry, it is important to get assurance that titles granted before Brexit will still be valid in the UK following Brexit. The question of whether titles granted by the CPVO could be valid in the UK after Brexit, and possible conditions for such a scheme, is also frequently put to the CPVO. These and other questions will be subject to negotiations between the UK and the EU. The CPVO believes that it is important that a user-friendly solution is found which will not add to unnecessary administrative work for EU breeders seeking protection in the UK, and UK breeders seeking protection at EU level."

It added: "On the basis of a detailed analysis of the current fee structure and a forecast of the future budget outturn, the members of the Administrative Council (AC) requested the European Commission to update the fees regulation. The first change concerns the ‘annual fees’ to be increased to EUR 330. The second one concerns the ‘takeover fee’ which will be realigned with the exchange rate to EUR 320. For examination fees, the members decided that 85 per cent examination costs recovery should continue to be the basis for cost and this will also be reflected. The entry into force of the these changes will be communicated as soon as the fees regulations is formally updated."

Plants for Europe owner Graham Spencer said: "CPVO fees. notably, DUS (distinctiveness, uniformity and stability) examination fees are to be changed (although the changes are not detailed). In addition, the annual fee for granted PVRs is to be revised from the current EUR 250 per annum to EUR 330 per annum. The CPVO has not yet set an implementation date for these new charges.

"We do not yet know what other costs Brexit will add (possibly the need for both EU and UK Plant Variety Rights to be held simultaneously, plus the potential requirement for a procedural representative when making applications to the CPVO). Brexit certainly diminishes British influence on the setting of fees by the CPVO. Taken together with the falling value of Sterling that has occurred since the Referendum, costs for British breeders and plant variety owners are increasing substantially – and I can foresee that at least some of that cost will need to be passed to growers (and ultimately retailers and the end consumer) in the form of increased royalties.

In the first eight months of 2016, the Office received a total of 2,111 applications, which represents an increase of 5.2 per cent compared to the same period last year.

A similar high number of applications only arrived in the record year of 2014, when 2,119 were submitted. The tendency is however not the same for all crop sectors. The greatest number of applications was still filed in the ornamental sector; however, 850 applications meant that they slightly shrinking (–4; –0.5 per cent). The second biggest crop sector is the agricultural sector, with 668 applications (+26; +4.1 per cent). An increase in application numbers was observed for vegetable crops with a total of 486 applications (+116; +31.4 per cent. Finally, in the fruit sector, 107 applications were submitted (–34; –24.1 per cent).

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