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Food and Feed Safety (29-06-2005)

EU moves towards full membership of the international convention for the protection of new varieties of plants

The EU took the final step towards becoming a full member of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) today, by depositing the instruments of accession at the General Secretariat of the UPOV in Geneva. Accession to the UPOV Convention will allow the EU to fully benefit from the rights conferred by the Convention, and to be recognised as a full member of this international group with clear-cut obligations and rules when it comes to plant variety rights.

The UPOV Convention aims to ensure a harmonised international system for the protection of plant varieties and encourage the development of new varieties of plants. It was adopted in 1961, and has been revised 3 times, the most recent being in 1991. As a consequence of EU membership, all plant breeders of the European Community will enjoy the same rights as other UPOV members when it comes to the protection of plant varieties. The EU also has its own Regulation on Community Plant Variety Rights, based on UPOV recommendations, which allows breeders with a distinctive plant variety that fulfils certain criteria to be granted intellectual property rights at EU level.

For more information on EU protection of plant variety rights, see: http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/plant/propertyrights/index_en.htm For more information on the UPOV, see: http://www.upov.int/