Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Registry has changed it long adopted procedure for registration of plant varieties, as per the public notice issued in Plant Variety Journal of India, March 2012(here). I have already posted (here) that Authority has made its mandatory disclosure as per the RTI Act, 2005(here). In the blog post (here) it was also pointed out that some of applicants do not agree with the earlier procedure followed by the Registry, as it was not accordance with various provisions of the PPV&FR Act and Rules. In the mandatory disclosure the norms set by the Authority to discharge its functions provides that “DUS test is to be conducted after advertisement of applications in Plant Variety Journal”. The Authority has already published advertisement for thousands of plant varieties with unconfirmed DUS characteristics and on the basis of which several oppositions are pending before the Registry, leading to unnecessary litigations between seed companies.
Out of these thousands of applications published, the Authority has already registered 327 plant varieties (here) according to the earlier followed norms of publication of characteristics of plant varieties before DUS testing.
Excerpt of the said Public Notice is as under:
“Henceforth, in accordance with Section 19 of PPV & FR Act, 2001; the applicants shall along with the application for registration, deposit seeds of the variety applied for registration in such quantities as specified in the DUS test guidelines of respective crop species for DUS testing. Thereafter, in accordance with Rule 29 (2) of the PPV & FR Rules, 2003, if the application is found to be in order on initial scrutiny then the applicant will be notified to deposit the DUS test fee. On payment of said fee, the DUS test will be conducted. Before acceptance of an application for registration, inquiry will be conducted under Section 20(1) of PPV & FR Act, 2001 by examining the DUS test report along with application and other documents. Thereafter, if the application is found to be in order, it will be accepted under Section 20(1) and advertised under Section 21(1) of PPV & FR Act, 2001”.
At this juncture, I feel it apposite to point out that the registration of plant varieties opened since November 2006 and about 327 plant variety registrations have been granted till date, following the unlawful procedure adopted by the Authority. It took about 6-7 years for the Authority to notice the lacunae in the procedure followed by them, despite various litigations.
The damage has already been done to the genuine parties concerned, who failed to file oppositions due to publication of unconfirmed DUS characteristics in Plant Variety Journal of India. What is the remedy to the damage done to the parties concerned is yet to be addressed by the Hon’ble PPV&FR Authority.
The Authority has to address various other issues related to plant varieties registrations, at the earliest in order to avoid unwarranted litigations caused due to present flaws in functioning of the Authority / Registry. I hope the Authority realizes various procedural flaws and addresses them as well.
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