The UPOV System of Plant Variety Protection

The UPOV system of plant variety protection came into being with the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants by a Diplomatic Conference in Paris on December 2, 1961. This was the point at which there was recognition of the intellectual property rights of plant breeders in their varieties on an international basis.

The following chapters of this introduction to the UPOV System of Plant Variety Protection explain what a plant variety is, the nature of plant breeding, the need for protection of plant varieties; the key features of the latest Act of the UPOV Convention and give some basic information on the UPOV's organizational structure.

I. What is a plant variety?

Classification of the Plant Kingdom
Plant Variety

II. The nature of plant breeding

III. Need for Protection of Plant Varieties

IV. Key Features of the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention

(a) " Breeders" and "Varieties" ( Article 1 )

(b) General Obligations of the Members of the Union ( Chapter II )

(c) Conditions for the Grant of the Breeder's Right ( Chapter III )

(d) Application for the Grant of the Breeder's Right ( Chapter IV )

(e) The Rights of the Breeder ( Chapter V

(f) Duration of the Breeder's Right ( Article 19 )

(g) Nullity and Cancellation of the Breeder's Right ( Chapter VI )

V. Structure of the Organization

I. What is a plant variety?

Classification of the Plant Kingdom

The plant kingdom is vast and has been classified into a ranking system containing many divisions and sub-divisions. The division which is most familiar to many people is the "species"; however, the species level comes quite low down the classification of the plant kingdom. The most commonly used ranks in classification of plants are, in descending order, Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. Thus, in general, each species belongs to a genus, each genus belongs to a family, etc. These ranks are called taxonomic groups or "taxa" (singular: taxon) for short.

The following example illustrates the taxonomic classification of soft wheat:

Division:  Spermatophyta
Class:  Liliopsida (Monocotyledonae)
Order:  Poales
Family:  Poaceae
Genus:  Triticum
Species:  Triticum aestivum L. (Soft Wheat)

The rank of species, by which most plants are known, is probably the most important because it is the basis from which the classification is constructed. It denotes a group of organisms sharing a long number of heritable characteristics, which are reproductively isolated. Thus, plants of different species such as rose, potato, wheat and apple cannot inter-breed by natural means.

Plant Variety

Although the rank of species is an important botanical classification, it is clear that the plants within a species can be very different. Farmers and growers need plants which are adapted to the environment in which they are grown and which are suited to the cultivation practices employed. Therefore, farmers and growers use a more precisely defined group of plants, selected from within a species, called a "plant variety". The UPOV Convention definition of a plant variety starts by stating that it is "a plant grouping within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank, ..." This confirms that a plant variety results from the lowest sub-division of the species. However, to understand more completely what a plant variety is, the UPOV Convention (Article 1(vi)) defines it as:

"a plant grouping within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank, which grouping, irrespective of whether the conditions for the grant of a breeder's right are fully met, can be

- defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given genotype or combination of genotypes,

- distinguished from any other plant grouping by the expression of at least one of the said characteristics and

- considered as a unit with regard to its suitability for being propagated unchanged;"

This full definition clarifies that a variety must be recognizable by its characteristics, recognizably different from any other variety and remain unchanged through the process of propagation. If a plant variety grouping does not meet these criteria, it is not considered to be a variety within the UPOV system. However, the definition also makes clear that this is irrespective of whether the conditions for the grant of a breeder's right are fully met and this is not, as such, a condition for determining if a variety is eligible for protection. The conditions for protection of a variety are set out in Section IV (c) of this document.

II. The nature of plant breeding

In early history, and as part of the process of establishing fixed settlements and becoming a farmer, man selected and kept seed or plants of those species that offered a secure food source.

By the end of the eighteenth century, when systematic plant breeding by selection began, the plants grown by farmers were the result of several thousands of years of partly conscious, partly unconscious selection. The art of plant breeding resulted from the realization by innovative farmers in the eighteenth century that considerable further progress was possible by systematic selection. In the twentieth century, the rediscovery of Mendel's laws of heredity contributed to the establishment of plant breeding on a scientific basis.

The essence of plant breeding is the discovery or creation of genetic variation in a plant species and the selection from within that variation of plants with desirable traits that can be inherited in a stable fashion. The plant breeders' final selections of superior plants will form the basis of one or more plant varieties. Plant breeders use all available technology both to create genetic variation and to select from within that variation.

Different types of plant variety have been developed, depending upon the physiology of the plants of each species and the ways in which the plants of the species can be reproduced. For example, varieties of rose and potato can be reproduced vegetatively, that is to say, can be reproduced by using a part of a plant as the basis for producing another complete plant. Rose varieties can be reproduced by propagating a bud or a cutting from a plant of the variety. Potato varieties are normally reproduced by propagating a tuber of the variety.

Varieties of grasses and most vegetables and cereals are reproduced sexually, that is by pollination of the female part of a flower (the stigma) by pollen from the male part of a flower (the anther). Here, however, one must make a distinction. The plants of some species, for example wheat, will tolerate, through successive generations, the fertilization of the stigma by pollen from the anthers of the same flower or from another flower on the same plant without loss of vigor. Plant varieties of such species can be based upon a single plant or on a small number of plants which will reproduce themselves precisely through successive generations. All the plants of a variety of this kind, known as "self-pollinated" varieties, will be genetically the same or very similar.

The plants of many species are not adapted to self-fertilization or cannot tolerate self-fertilization through successive generations and will become less vigorous if forced to self-pollinate (they will suffer from "in-breeding depression"). In these plants, the female part of the flower must be fertilized by the pollen from another flower, or from a flower of another plant. Varieties of such species, known as "cross-pollinated" varieties, are populations of plants based upon the controlled cross-pollination of a sufficient number of selected diverse, superior plants to secure enhanced performance without suffering in-breeding depression.

Yet a further category of variety is based upon the controlled cross-pollination of parent lines, so that the seed resulting from the cross-pollination inherits its genetic make-up from the parent lines. Such varieties, known as "hybrids", will typically exhibit greater vigor ("hybrid vigor") than the parent lines on which they are based, resulting, for example, in plants with higher yields, better resistance to stress, etc. The same controlled cross-pollination must be repeated each time the seed of those varieties is produced.

The simple objective of a breeder is to produce a variety which is an improvement on the plants used as the starting point. However, this is a difficult challenge. Many useful characteristics, such as yield and quality, are controlled by the interaction of very large numbers of genes, about most of which little is known. Very large numbers of plants must be examined by the plant breeder over many different seasons and under different growing conditions. Once a desirable plant has been identified, it is still necessary to fix its genetic structure in order that it can be multiplied into a variety, the individual plants of which perform in the desired way. Thus, the breeding of a plant variety takes place over many years.

Large-scale breeding work calls for significant annual investment in land, specialized equipment (including, for example, greenhouses, growth chambers and laboratories), and skilled scientific manpower, which must continue over the many years which it takes to find and develop an improved plant variety. Not all plant breeders are successful and, even where successful, changes in market requirements may eliminate the possibility of a return on investment, so there is also risk involved. However, the benefits arising from the combinations of increased output and improved quality made possible by plant breeding are such that society has good reasons to encourage investment and risk-taking in this field.

III. Need for Protection of Plant Varieties

New varieties of plants which produce improved yields, higher quality or provide better resistance to plant pests and diseases are a key element and a most cost-effective factor in increasing productivity and product quality in agriculture, horticulture and forestry, whilst minimizing the pressure on the natural environment. Many other modern technologies of plant production need to be combined with high-performing varieties in order to deploy their full potential. The tremendous progress in agricultural productivity in various parts of the world is largely based on improved varieties.

World population continues to grow and it is necessary to find ways of increasing output through higher yields and less wastage, thereby minimizing the use of land and other resources, all of which are becoming more scarce. But plant breeding has wider economic and environmental benefits than just increasing food production, including for developing countries. The development of new improved varieties with, for example, higher quality increases the value and marketability of crops in the global market of the twenty-first century. In addition, breeding programs for ornamental plants can be of substantial economic importance for an exporting country. The breeding and exploitation of new varieties is a decisive factor in improving rural income and overall economic development. Furthermore, the development of breeding programs for certain species can remove the threat to the survival of the species in the wild.

As explained earlier (Section II, "The Nature of Plant Breeding"), the process of plant breeding is long and expensive; however, it can be very quick and easy to reproduce a variety. Clearly, few breeders would spend many years of their life, making substantial economic investment, in developing a new variety if there was no means of being recompensed for this commitment. Hence, sustained breeding efforts are only possible if there is a chance to reward investment. It is, therefore, important to provide 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 system of plant variety protection came into being with the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants by a Diplomatic Conference in Paris on December 2, 1961. This was the point at which there was recognition of the intellectual property rights of plant breeders in their varieties on an international basis.

The UPOV Convention provides a sui generis form of intellectual property protection which has been specifically adapted for the process of plant breeding and has been developed with the aim of encouraging breeders to develop new varieties of plants. Innovations in other areas of technology concerning plants are covered by other forms of intellectual property rights including, in particular, patents.

IV. Key Features of the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention

This chapter is intended to provide a general overview of the key features of the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention. However, it should not be considered as a legal interpretation and anyone wishing to have a full understanding may wish to consult the text of the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention and the Records of the Geneva Diplomatic Conference of 1991

This overview is structured as follows:

(a) "Breeders" and "Varieties" ( Article 1 )

The UPOV system offers protection to the "breeder" of a plant variety, in the form of a "breeder's right", if his plant "variety" satisfies the conditions set out in the UPOV Convention (Chapter III of the 1991 Act). The definition of a plant variety has already been explained ("What is a plant variety?" (Adobe PDF)) above and now it is necessary to consider what the UPOV Convention means by the term "breeder".

The 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention (Article 1(iv)) defines a breeder as:

"- the person who bred, or discovered and developed, a variety,

- the person who is the employer of the aforementioned person or who has commissioned the latter's work, where the laws of the relevant Contracting Party so provide, or

- the successor in title of the first or second aforementioned person, as the case may be;"

This simple definition contains some important information concerning the UPOV system. The phrase "the person who bred, .." The breeder might be a plantsman, a farmer, a company or a scientist.  It also clarifies that the breeder must be the one who bred the variety, i.e. created a plant variety by means of plant breeding techniques.  The plant breeding techniques can range from a basic selection by an amateur grower, through to technically advanced procedures, such as genetic engineering, and the UPOV Convention makes no restrictions.

As explained in the second and third indents, the employer of the breeder and the successor in title of the breeder may also be entitled to protection.

The phrase "the person who bred, or discovered and developed, ?" also clarifies that a mere discovery or find would not entitle the person to protection. Development is necessary. The issue of discovery and development in relation to the UPOV Convention is explored further in document "The Notion of Breeder and Common Knowledge" (Document C(Extr.)/19/2 Rev. Adobe PDF.).

Thus, any person, irrespective of their scientific or legal background, irrespective of the breeding method used and irrespective of the effort expended to create the variety, is a potential breeder.

(b) General Obligations of the Members of the Union (Chapter II)

Basic Obligation (Article 2)

The basic obligation for the members of the Union is to grant and protect breeders? rights.

Genera and Species to be Protected (Article 3)

A new member of the Union, on becoming bound to the Convention, must offer protection for at least 15 plant genera or species and, within 10 years, offer protection to all plant genera and species. The ability to offer protection to all plant genera and species is enhanced by the various bilateral, multilateral and regional arrangements for examination which are encouraged within UPOV (document C/37/6).

National Treatment (Article 4)

A basic principle of the UPOV Convention is that the nationals and residents of any member of the Union will receive the same treatment as accorded to the nationals of all other members of the Union.

(c) Conditions for the Grant of the Breeder?s Right ( Chapter III )

A variety shall be granted protection if it is:

  • new,
  • distinct,
  • uniform and
  • stable

The grant of protection shall not be subject to any further conditions, provided the variety is designated by an acceptable denomination and the applicant complies with all the formalities and pays the required fees. The words in italics clarify that no other criteria or conditions can be used in determining whether to grant protection to a variety.

Novelty (Article 6)

To be eligible for protection, a variety must not have been sold, or otherwise disposed of, in the territory of the member of the Union concerned for more than one year prior to the application for a breeder?s right, or more than four years (six years for trees or vines) in a territory other than that of the member of the Union in which the application has been filed.

In the case of new members of the Union, or members extending the plant genera or species for which protection is offered, these novelty periods may be extended for varieties which have only recently been created at the time that protection becomes available.

Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) (Articles 7, 8 and 9)

The requirements of the Convention are as follows:

Distinctness (Article 7)

Criterion: A variety is deemed to be distinct if it is clearly distinguishable from any other variety whose existence is a matter of common knowledge at the time of filing of the application.

A variety whose existence is a matter of common knowledge (a "variety of common knowledge") must fall within the definition of a variety set out in Article 1(vi) of the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention, but this does not necessarily require fulfillment of the Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) criteria required for grant of a breeder's right under the UPOV Convention. Thus, a variety of common knowledge does not have to be a protected variety and includes ecotypes or landraces which fall within the definition of variety. Furthermore, if protection was wrongly granted to a variety that was not distinct, the breeder's right be declared null and void, i.e. considered that the right was never granted (Section (g), "Nullity"). The matter of common knowledge is considered further in document "The Notion of Breeder and Common Knowledge." (Document C(Extr.)/19/2 Rev. (Adobe PDF)"

Uniformity ( Article 8 )

Criterion: A variety is deemed to be uniform if, subject to the variation that may be expected from the particular features of its propagation, it is sufficiently uniform in its relevant characteristics.

The uniformity requirement within the Convention has been established to ensure that the variety can be defined as far as is necessary for the purpose of protection. Thus, the criterion for uniformity does not seek absolute uniformity and takes into account the nature of the variety itself. Furthermore, it relates only to the relevant characteristics for the protection of the variety.

Stability ( Article 9 )

Criterion: A variety is deemed to be stable if its relevant characteristics remain unchanged after repeated propagation or, in the case of a particular cycle of propagation, at the end of each such cycle.

As with the uniformity requirement, the criterion for stability has been established to ensure that the identity of the variety, as the subject matter of protection, is kept throughout the period of protection. Thus, the criterion for stability relates only to the relevant characteristics of a variety.

The distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS) criteria are often grouped together and referred to as the "technical criteria." They are most easily understood by considering the criteria together with the way in which they are examined. Guidance on this is provided by document TG/1/3, "General Introduction to the Examination of Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability and the Development of Harmonized Descriptions of New Varieties of Plants" (Adobe PDF).

Denomination ( Article 20 )

Each member of the Union must register the denomination of a new plant variety at the same time as it issues the title of protection for the new variety. Anyone who, within the territory of one of the members of the Union, offers material of the protected variety for sale or markets propagating material of the variety is obliged to use the denomination, even after the expiration of the breeder's right of that variety.

The denomination is chosen by the breeder of the new variety but it must conform with all the criteria set out in Article 20 of the 1991 Act. In summary:

  • it must be different from all other denominations used by other members of the Union for the same, or a closely related, species;
  • it must not be liable to mislead or cause confusion concerning the nature of the variety or identity of the breeder;
  • it must enable the variety to be identified;
  • no rights in the denomination shall hamper its free use as the variety denomination (even after expiry of the breeder's right);
  • prior rights of third persons must not be affected and such rights can require a change of the variety denomination;
  • it may not consist solely of figures, unless this is an established practice.

The breeder must submit the same denomination to all members of the Union and, unless this is considered to be unsuitable within a particular territory, this same denomination will be registered by all the members of the Union.

A trademark, trade name or other similar indication may be associated with the denomination for the purposes of marketing or selling, but the denomination must be easily recognizable.

(d) Application for the Grant of the Breeder's Right ( Chapter IV )

Filing of Applications ( Article 10 )

The breeders can choose with which member of the Union to file their first application and can file subsequent applications with other members of the Union without waiting for the outcome of the first. The status of protection provided by one member of the Union must not be used as a basis for determining the protection by another member of the Union. Protection is independent in each member of the Union.

Right of Priority ( Article 11 )

Any breeder (national or a resident of a member of the Union) may file their first application for protection of a given plant variety with any of the members of the Union. If the breeder files an application for the same variety with any other member of the Union within 12 months of the filing of the first application, this "later" application could benefit, if so requested, from the right of priority.

There are two main effects:

(i) an application benefiting from a right of priority must be examined as if it had been filed on the date of the first application.

This has particular significance for consideration of novelty and distinctness, since those criteria relate to the date of filing of the application. Thus, the examination for novelty and distinctness will relate to the date of the first application.

(ii) the breeder can defer the examination for up to two years after the expiration of the date of priority.

Examination of the Application ( Article 12 )

The Convention sets out the conditions for the granting of the breeder's right (Section (c), "Conditions for the Grant of the Breeder's Right"), namely that a variety must be novel, distinct, uniform and stable (DUS) and have a suitable denomination. The Convention also requires that the members of the Union conduct an examination for compliance with these conditions.

UPOV recognizes the importance of providing guidance on such an examination, firstly, because such guidance can ensure that the examination is conducted on the basis of sound principles and, secondly, because this guidance leads to the harmonization which optimizes the opportunities for cooperation and, therefore, efficiency in the examination.

Guidance for the examination of DUS is provided by document TG/1/3, "General Introduction to the Examination of Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability and the Development of Harmonized Descriptions of New Varieties of Plants". (Adobe PDF)

Information on registered variety denominations can be found on the Plant Variety Database "UPOV-ROM.".

The Convention states that "In the course of the examination, the authority may grow the variety or carry out other necessary tests, cause the growing of the variety or the carrying out of other necessary tests, or take into account the results of growing tests or other trials which have already been carried out". This indicates that the members of the Union have different options for conducting the examination.

An authority of a member of the Union might choose to conduct the examination itself. However, the Convention ("... the authority may ... ... cause the growing ..."), also allows the members of the Union to conduct the examination in other ways, such as by arranging for a third party to conduct the examination. This third party might be the authority of another member of the Union. This allows members of the Union to cooperate in a bilateral, multilateral or regional way to ensure that the examination is conducted in the most efficient and effective way. The extent of this cooperation is reported in document C/37/5, " Cooperation in Examination". The authority may also arrange for the breeder to conduct some or all of the examination. The Convention makes an extra provision for nullity of the breeder's right, on the basis of lack of uniformity or stability, where the decision was based on information and documents provided by the breeder (Article 21(ii)).

The ability to "take into account the results ... ... which have already been carried out," allows members of the Union to use the results from other members of the Union which have already conducted an examination for the variety concerned. This allows, for example, one member of the Union to purchase the report on the examination which has been conducted by another member of the Union.

(e) The Rights of the Breeder ( Chapter V )

The nature of the right provided by the UPOV Convention is such that it is an exclusive right. In other words, it only forbids others from conducting certain acts without the authorization of the breeder of the protected variety. The breeder of a protected variety will not be able to exploit the variety in any way which is contrary to a law in the territory of the member of the Union concerned. Thus, the Convention (Article 18) establishes that the breeder's right is independent of any measure which may be taken by a member of the Union to regulate within its territory the production, certification and marketing of material of varieties or the importing or exporting of such material. However, it clarifies that, in any case, such measures shall not affect the application of the provisions of the Convention.

The scope of the breeder's right ( Article 14 )

Acts Covered for Propagating Material

The following acts in respect of the propagating material of the protected variety require the authorization of the breeder:

(i) production or reproduction (multiplication),
(ii) conditioning for the purpose of propagation,
(iii) offering for sale,
(iv) selling or other marketing,
(v) exporting,
(vi) importing,
(vii) stocking for any of the purposes mentioned in (i) to (vi), above.

Acts Covered for Other Material

The scope of the breeder's right with respect to the propagating material is extended to harvested material, where this has been obtained through the unauthorized use of propagating material of the protected variety, unless the breeder has had reasonable opportunity to exercise his right in relation to the propagating material.

Each member of the Union may also extend the scope of the breeder's right to products made directly from harvested material, where this has been obtained through the unauthorized use of harvested material of the protected variety, unless the breeder has had reasonable opportunity to exercise his right in relation to the harvested material.

Each member of the Union may also extend the scope of the breeder's right beyond the acts specified in (i) to (vii), above.

Varieties Covered

In addition to the protected variety itself, the scope of the breeders right also covers:

(i) varieties which are essentially derived from the protected variety, where the protected variety is not itself an essentially derived variety;

(ii) varieties which are not clearly distinguishable from the protected variety; and

(iii) varieties whose production requires the repeated use of the protected variety.

The purpose of the provision on essentially derived varieties (paragraph (i)) is to ensure that the Convention encourages sustainable plant breeding development by providing effective protection for the classical plant breeder and by encouraging cooperation between classical breeders and breeders employing techniques, such as genetic engineering. The Convention contains some further clarification of what an essentially derived variety is (Article 14(5)).

Exceptions to the Breeder's Right ( Article 15 )

The breeder's right does not extend to

(i) acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes,

This exception means that, for example, subsistence farming is excluded from the scope of the breeder's right

(ii) acts done for experimental purposes and

(iii) acts done for the purpose of breeding other varieties and, for the purpose of exploiting these new varieties provided the new variety is not a variety essentially derived from another protected variety (the initial variety).

This exception, for the purpose of breeding other varieties, is a fundamental aspect of the UPOV system of plant variety protection and is known as the "breeder's exemption". It recognizes that real progress in breeding-which, for the benefit of society, must be the goal of intellectual property rights in this field-relies on access to the latest improvements and new variation. Access is needed to all breeding materials in the form of modern varieties, as well as landraces and wild species, to achieve the greatest progress and is only possible if protected varieties are available for breeding.

The breeder's exemption optimizes variety improvement by ensuring that germplasm sources remain accessible to all the community of breeders. However, it also helps to ensure that the genetic basis for plant improvement is broadened and is actively conserved, thereby ensuring an overall approach to plant breeding which is sustainable and productive in the long term. In short, it is an essential aspect of an effective system of plant variety protection system which has the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society.

The granting of a patent may raise some problems for the application of the breeder's exemption.  This topic, as well as how to ensure the continued mutual supportiveness of the patent and plants breeders' rights systems, has been considered at the WIPO-UPOV Symposium on the Co-existence of Patents and Plant Breeders' Rights in the Promotion of Biotechnological Developments.

In addition, as an optional exception,  each member of the Union may, "within reasonable limits and subject to the safeguarding of the legitimate interests of the breeder, restrict the breeder's right in relation to any variety in order to permit farmers to use for propagating purposes, on their own holdings, the product of the harvest which they have obtained by planting, on their own holdings, the protected variety or other variety covered by the protection" (" Varieties Covered" above).

This optional provision is known as the "farmers' privilege."  This provision recognizes that, for some crops, there has been a common practice of farmers saving their own seed, i.e. seed is produced on a farm for the purpose of re-sowing on the same farm and not for the purpose of selling the seed.  The provision allows each member of the Union to take account of this practice when providing variety protection.  However, the purpose of plant variety protection is to encourage the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society.  Therefore, the Convention requires that the farmer's privilege be regulated "within reasonable limits and subject to the safeguarding of the legitimate interests of the breeder, ..."  If the farmer's privilege provisions were introduced in a way that failed to provide an incentive for breeders to develop new varieties, then society would fail to benefit from the system.    

Exhaustion of the Breeder's Right (Article 16)

The breeder's right does not extend to acts concerning material of the protected variety, or of a variety covered of its protection (Article 14(5)), which has been sold or otherwise marketed by the breeder or with his consent in the territory of the member of the Union concerned, or any material derived from the said material, unless such acts

    (i)    involve further propagation of the variety in question or

    (ii)    involve an export of material of the variety, which enables the propagation of the variety, into a country which does not protect varieties of the plant genus or species to which the variety belongs, except where the exported material is for final consumption purposes.

Restrictions on the Exercise of the Breeder's Right (Article 17)

Except where expressly provided in the Convention, no member of the Union may restrict the free exercise of a breeder's right for reasons other than of public interest.

When any such restriction has the effect of authorizing a third party to perform any act for which the breeder's authorization is required, the member of the Union concerned must take all measures necessary to ensure that the breeder receives equitable remuneration.

Provisional Protection (Article 13)

In respect of the period between the filing or the publication of the application and the grant of the breeder's right, the breeder shall be entitled at least to equitable remuneration from any person who, during the said period, has carried out acts which, once the right has been granted, require the breeder's authorization as provided in Article 14 of the 1991 Act.

(f) Duration of the Breeder's Right (Article 19)

The breeder's right is granted for a period of not less than 20 years from the date of grant or, in the case of trees and vines, for not less than 25 years.

(g) Nullity and Cancellation of the Breeder's Right ( Chapter VI )

Nullity ( Article 21 )

A breeder's right must be declared null and void if it is established:

(i) that the variety was not novel or distinct at the time of the grant of the breeder's right,

(ii) that, where the grant of the breeder's right has been essentially based upon information and documents furnished by the breeder, the variety was not uniform or stable at the time of the grant of the breeder's right, or

(iii) that the breeder's right has been granted to a person who is not entitled to it, unless it is transferred to the person who is so entitled.

A breeder's right must not be declared null and void for reasons other than those referred to above.

Cancellation ( Article 22 )

A breeder's right may be cancelled if it is established that the variety is no longer uniform or stable.

In addition, a member of the Union may cancel a breeder's right granted by it if, after being requested to do so and within a prescribed period,

(i) the breeder does not provide the authority with the information, documents or material deemed necessary for verifying the maintenance of the variety,

(ii) the breeder fails to pay such fees as may be payable to keep his right in force, or

(iii) the breeder does not propose, where the denomination of the variety is cancelled after the grant of the right, another suitable denomination.

A breeder's right must not be cancelled for reasons other than those referred to above.

V. Structure of the Organization

The "International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants" was established by the UPOV Convention in 1961. The term "member of the Union" means a State party to the Convention of 1961, the 1972 Act, the 1978 Act, or a Contracting Party to the 1991 Act.

The permanent organs of the Union are the Council and the Office of the Union.

The Council has established a Consultative Committee, an Administrative and Legal Committee and a Technical Committee. In addition, it has established Technical Working Parties for: Agricultural Crops; Automation and Computer Programs; Fruit Crops; Ornamental Plants and Forest Trees; and Vegetables and has introduced a Working Group on Biochemical and Molecular Techniques and DNA-Profiling in Particular. An organigram of the UPOV bodies structure is presented under UPOV bodies.

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