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New Variety Versus Extant Variety within the provision of The Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act 2001

The Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act 2001 is a significant legislation enacted by the Indian Parliament to address the rights and interests of both farmers and breeders.

This act aims to strike a delicate balance between protecting the rights of breeders while ensuring the preservation of traditional farming practices and the welfare of farmers.
An essential aspect of this act relates to the date of the first sale of a plant variety during the registration process. In this article, we will delve into the significance of the first sale date and its implications under the Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act 2001.

The Appeal:
The Appeal has been preferred under Section 56 of Protection Plant Varities and Farmers Right Act 2001 against Order dated 03.12.2021 whereby Appellant's registration for Plant variety - FL 2027 for Potato was revoked.

The Reasons For Revocation:
  1. Here are the fundamental reasons which made the authority to revoke the registration.
  2. The Appellant has provided incorrect information about first sale of subject matter product.
  3. No chain of assignment has been produced on record which shows that right in the said variety has been transferred from the original breeder to the Appellant.
  4. Grant of Registration is not in public interest.

THE Judgement:
Appeal was dismissed.

The Reasoning:
Section 34 a of the Act provides that protection granted to the breeder may be revoked in case it is found that the breeder has given incorrect information.

In the case at hand, the breeder has applied the subject plant variety and while doing so the same has given incorrect information about the date of first sale of the subject matter plant variety.

The subject matter Plant variety was wrongly applied for as new variety. It ought to have been applied as extant variety.

Extant Variety referes to those variety , which is avaialble in India. Different criterion has been provided under the act for new variety and extant Variety.

For the purpose of new variety, it must conforms to criteria of novelty, distinctiveness, uniformity and stability. The criteria for Novelty becomes crucial in relation to new variety.

While for extant variety, the criteria is distinctiveness, uniformity and stability. If a plant variety has not been sold for a period of 15 years. , at the date of filing of the application for registration, the same has to be registered as extant variety. This is the reason why , the date of first sale of plant variety becomes crucial for applying for plaint variety.

Even the Applicant has filed incomplete form for the purpose of establishing it's right from alleged assignment. These are important things , which Applicant did not do deligently.

While rejecting the Appeal, the Court also observed that any public spirited person does have the locus to challenge such registration.

The Concluding Note:
The Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act 2001 is a legislation that recognizes the contributions of both farmers and breeders in agricultural development. The inclusion of the first sale date provision in the act is crucial in striking a balance between the interests of breeders and the welfare of farmers.

The date of first sale of a plant variety holds significant importance in the registration process. If a variety has not been sold for a continuous period of 15 years from the date of filing the application for registration, it is classified as an extant variety and can be registered accordingly. This provision aims to encourage the preservation and recognition of traditional and locally adapted varieties that might have been overlooked due to commercial interests.

By adhering to these criteria, plant breeders, regulatory authorities, and farmers can collectively contribute to the advancement of agriculture and horticulture, promoting diversity, innovation, and sustainability in plant breeding and cultivation practices.

Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ld. Vs Kavitha Kuruganti
Date of Judgment: 05-07-2023
Case No: C.A. (Comm.IPD-PV) 02 of 2022
Neutral Citation No: 2023:DHC:4460
Name of Hon'ble Court: Hon'ble High Court of Delhi
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Navin Chawla, H.J.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman - IP Adjutor
Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph No: 9990389539

Information contained herein is being shared in the public Interest. The same should not be treated as substitute for legal advice as it is subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the facts and law involved herein.

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