Friday, December 19, 2014

Eligible Crop Species for Registration -Phase 1 to 8


In this post, I will take a note on the “eligible Crop species for registration under the PPV&FR Authority”. It is known procedural fact that application(s) for registration of a certain crop species can be filed, if such crop species has been notified by the Central government by exercising its power under the PPV&FR Act, 2001. Earlier, we had reported (here), (here) and (here) about the genesis of Protection of Plant Varieties and farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001 and crop species eligible for registration. Today, I will report about the all crop species (88) notified by the Central government in following phased manner as under;

Phase 1(Nov 01, 2006):The Central Government has notified Crops species of Rice, Wheat, Maize, Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Pigeon pea, Green bean, Black bean, French bean, Peas, Lentil and Chick pea for commencing registration for PBR in the first phase. Please see the gazette notification (here) for more details.  

Phase 2 (Dec 31, 2007): The Central government has notified crop species of Cotton and Jute with their genera eligible for registration of varieties. Please see the gazette notification (here) for more details.

Phase 3 (Aug. 03, 2009): The Central government has notified crops species of Sugarcane, Ginger and Turmeric with their genera eligible for registration. Please see the gazette notification (here) for more details.

Phase 4(April 30, 2010): The Central Government has notified crop species of Black pepper, Small cardamom, Indian mustard, Rape seed, Sunflower, Safflower, Castor, Sesame, Linseed, Groundnut and Soybean with their genera and species eligible for registration of varieties. Please see the gazette notification (here) for more details.

Phase 5 (Aug. 18, 2011): The Central Government has notified crop species of Wheat, Coconut, Periwinkle, Indian pennywort, Rose, Blond Psyllium and Menthol Mint for the purpose of registration of varieties. Please see the gazette notification (here) for more details.
Phase 6 (March 27,2012): The Central Government has notified crop species of Bamboo Leaf Orchid or Boat Orchid, Spray Orchid or Singapore Orchid, Vanda or Blue Orchid for the purpose of registration of varieties. Please see the gazette notification (here) for more details.

Phase 7 (April 16,2014): The Central Government has notified crop species of  Pomegranate, Orchid, Eucalyptus, Casurina, Bitter Gourd, Bottel Gourd, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Barley, Coriander, Fenugreek, Almond, Apple, Pear, Apricot, Cherry, Walnut, Grapes and Indian jujube (Ber) for the purpose of registration of varieties. Please see the gazette notification (here) for more details.

Phase 8 (October 16, 2014); The Central Government has notified crop species of Tea (3 species), Acid Lime, Mandarin, Sweet Orange, Bougainvillea, Banana and Orchid for the purpose of registration of varieties. Please see the gazette notification (here) for more details.
We hope and believe that some more crop species will be notified in future.

Crop species eligible for Registration-8th Phase

In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of Section 29 read with Section 14 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001 (53 of 2001), the Central Government has issued Gazette Notification S.O. 2664(E) dated October  16, 2014. In accordance with this notification (here), the following genera or species (not being extant varieties and farmers' varieties) are eligible for the purpose of registration under the said Act, namely:
1.  Tea (Camellia sinensis, C. assamica & C. assamica ssp lasiocalyx.)
2. Acid limes (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle).
3. Mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco).
4.  Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck)
5. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea Comm. ex Juss.)
6. Banana (Musa Sp.)
7. Orchid (Oncidium Sw.)

Please see the DUS Guidelines for the following crop species as notified above for registration under the said notification. These guidelines shall be applicable as stated.


List of all the crops species eligible (88 as of now) for the purpose of registration can be seen here. Guidelines for a crop Species should be referred to prepare application(s) for the purpose of registration under the PPV&FR Act accordingly. We hope that some more crop species will be notified in future.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finally, National Biodiversity Authority issued Access and Benefit Sharing Guidelines(ABS)

Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board (MPSBB) has sent notice(s) to the various companies in State under section 7 of the Biological Diversity Act 2002, to deposit X% i.e. 2% of gross sale or gross revenue on the financial year basis towards the benefit sharing in Biological Diversity Fund of the State Biological Diversity Board as access and benefit sharing as described under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Companies (Som Distilleries Pvt. Ltd., Dabur India Ltd., Mount Everest Breweries Ltd, Ruchi Soya Industries and many others) approached and filed appeals against such notice(s) to the National Green Tribunal, Bhopal. Companies have raised many issues as how an authority can decide such percentage in absence of guidelines in place. Companies prayed for interim relief, looking to the facts and circumstances of the case, the respondents (MPSBB/NBA) were restrained from taking any coercive action against the applicant(s) including prosecution in case.  Interim relief was granted by NGT. 

In its order, National Green Tribunal (NGT) has highlighted the importance with regard to the finalization of the guidelines for Access and benefit Sharing (ABS) to enable tribunal to decide the matter(s). Therefore, NGT has directed respondents (MPSBB/NBA) to file their reply along with guidelines to decide the matter accordingly.

NBA’s counsel has requested 4 months’ time (till July 2014) to record such guidelines. NBA was not able to do so in requested time and further requested an extension of time of four months for finalising the Access and Benefit Sharing Guidelines by Respondent (National Biodiversity Authority) through the MoEF for preparation, finalisation and to be notified as provided under Section 64 of the said Act, as it requires the same to be placed before the Parliament and then notified for being implemented. NGT has granted extension of four month time.

In exercise of the powers conferred by section 64 read with sub-section (1) of section 18 and sub-section (4) of section 21 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (18 of 2003), hereinafter referred to as the Act, and in pursuance of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity dated the 29th October, 2010. The Union Cabinet of India has approved the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. Finally, on 21st November 2014, the National Biodiversity Authority has issued Guidelines on Access to Biological Resources and Associated Knowledge and Benefits Sharing Regulations, 2014.These guidelines will surely give momentum to the cases (especially in NGT) related to access and benefit sharing

Iraq Joins the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture


 As per the information on treaty site (here), The Republic of Iraq has acceded to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture on 29 September 2014, becoming the Treaty’s 133rd Contracting Party as of 27 November 2014. In addition to this, Iraq is member of a number of other international treaties and commissions, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the International Plant Protection Convention.

This step is taken by IRAQ to conserve and sustainable use their genetic resources in line with the Treaty objectives. These genetic resources may be loss due to the present situation in the country. 
Most of the time, conflicts are considered a potential threat to human being as well as plant resources. A year back, due to the conflict in the country (i.e. Syria) has forces research institute to relocate from Syria. ICARDA has opened officially in Ethiopia. In April 2013, SciDev.Net reported that although the Syrian conflict had not affected the progress of ICARDA's global research programme, it had forced the organisation to reorganize its work in certain parts of the country.

For sure, this is a step to conserve and sustainable use IRAQ's genetic resource.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dr. R.R. Hanchinal, Chairperson of PPV&FR Authority

We informed to our readers (here) that Dr. P.L. Gautam was appointed as 2nd Hon’ble Chairperson of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV&FRA). In this post, we would like to inform about the successor of Dr. Gautam and present chairperson of the Authority.

In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001 (53 of 2001), the Central Government has issued notification (here) and appointed Dr. R.R. Hanchinal as Chairperson of the Authority. The Hon’ble Chairperson is appointed to fulfill the mandate of established authority under the PPV&FR Act, 2001. A brief profile of the chairperson can be seen here. He can be contacted here.


Plant Variety Protection will facilitate the growth of seed industry in the country which will ensure the availability of high quality seeds and planting material to farmers. We hope that more transparency will come in various procedures being followed by the Authority. We congratulate him and wish him a productive and fruitful time in his new assignment. We expect that his tenure will extend needful support to Indian farmer’s, private and public seed sector.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crop species eligible for Registration-6th Phase


In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of Section 29 read with Section 14 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001 (53 of 2001), the Central Government has issued Gazette Notification S.O. 1093(E) dated April 16, 2014. In accordance with this notification, the following genera or species (not being extant varieties and farmers' varieties) are eligible for the purpose of registration under the said Act, namely:-

1.    Pomegranate
2.    Orchid- Gallon Lindl.
3.    Orchid- Phalaenopsis Blume
4.    Eucalyptus
5.    Casurina
6.    Bitter Gourd
7.    Bottel Gourd
8.    Cucumber
9.    Pumpkin
10. Barley
11. Coriander
12. Fenugreek
13. Almond
14. Apple
15. Pear
16. Apricot
17. Cherry
18. Walnut
19. Grapes
20. Indian jujube (Ber)

With this notification, 77 Crop species  have been notified for registration. Interested parties can read these DUS guidelines for a specific crop (here) and act accordingly.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Novartis loses patent battle in SC over cancer drug

As per the new article report, a landmark verdict by the Supreme Court on today rejected a plea by Swiss pharma giant Novartis AG for getting its blood cancer drug Glivec patented in India, thereby paving way for the continued production of the drug’s generic version by Indian companies. The said article can be accessed here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Govt Revokes Avesthagen’s Jamun Patent

We are very well aware about how India has successfully combated for neem and haldi patents in the U.S and Europe. But it has now woken up to the problem in its own backyard when it has to scrap a jamun patent given to an Indian firm, Avesthagen (drug maker).

Background:
The Indian Patent office had granted a patent to Avesthagen, an Indian drug maker firm, for a diabetes medicine made from the extract of jamun, lavangpatti and chundun.

Grounds of Revocation:
The government has revoked the patent using a “rarest of rare” provision in the Patents Act saying it was an “integral part” of traditional medicine. It has said that the patent was “mischievous to the state and generally prejudicial to the public” as the treatment was an “integral part” of ayurveda, unani and siddha system of medicine.

Defendant’s Stand:
Defending the patent the company argued that the extracts, which work individually in managing diabetes, had an aggressive effect when combined. In addition, it used an approach that is “innovative, novel and scientific” in developing a formulation and screened it for efficacy and safety using modern technology. It has also argued that the patent was not prejudicial to public interest as it would support Indian farmers, from whom the plants would be sourced, and provide employment to people.

Future Outcomes:
While the problem seems to have been dealt with at least for the moment, there could be more in store as the government has discovered that there are at least four or five similar instances of patents given to medicines over the last five years or so that have been “developed” using commonly used plants and fruits, ranging from amla, methi, karela and ashswangandha.

Conclusion:
The present patent controversy is proving to be a major embarrassment, given that India has for long fought for protecting traditional knowledge and genetic resources and sought to check piracy of ayurvedic and other traditional forms of medicine. What is even more curious is how the Indian Patents Office gave the protection after the government had successfully got European authorities to turn down the application two years ago. The government has put all such patents under scanner and there would be more patents revocations at offing.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

France ratifies the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention


The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) was established by the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants ("UPOV Convention"). The UPOV Convention was adopted on December 2, 1961, by a Diplomatic Conference held in Paris.

The UPOV Convention came into force on August 10, 1968, having been ratified by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany. The UPOV Convention has been revised on November 10, 1972, on October 23, 1978, and on March 19, 1991, in order to reflect technological developments in plant breeding and experience acquired with the application of the UPOV Convention.UPOV is an intergovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. 

The mission of UPOV is to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society.

The UPOV Convention provides the basis for members to encourage plant breeding by granting breeders of new plant varieties an intellectual property right: the breeder's right. 

The Government of France deposited its instrument of ratification of the 1991 Act of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants on April 27, 2012.

France, which is already one of the seventy members of UPOV, is the fiftieth member to become bound by the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention. The 1991 Act will enter into force for France on May 27, 2012, one month after the deposit of its instrument of ratification.