Pakistan - Understanding Its Law on Plant Variety Rights
6 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2017 Last revised: 12 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 10, 2017
As of 8 December 2016, Pakistan has gone about to enact a sui generis system for recognition and protection of rights in plant varieties, pursuant to its treaty obligations under Article 27(3) of TRIPS Agreement. Accordingly, the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act, 2016 (‘PBRA’16’) has come into force in Pakistan.
It seems like Pakistan is attempting to balance between the competing interest of national food security and rights of breeders of plant varieties.
With increase in population and diminishing land availability, international and national food security will always be a major concern. PBRA’16 will encourage plant breeders and seed organizations in both public and private sectors to invest in research and plant breeding; help breeders develop superior varieties of crops; provide access to protected foreign varieties and new technologies and effectively control the menace of counterfeit seeds.
While PBRA’16 will protect plant variety rights, it may result in seed monopolies favouring higher prices for seeds. Also, practices of re-using of saved seeds will have to be departed from, which would result in purchase of seeds by farmers who previously solely were dependent on saved seeds. The owner of Certificate of Protection for Protected Variety will be able to charge royalty on the sale of seeds that are protected under PBRA’16, and will have the right to initiate legal action against the persons found infringing protected rights. Nevertheless, as noted above, such protection will definitely encourage foreign firms to invest in plant breeding in Pakistan.
Keywords: plant variety protection; seed variety law, plant genetic resources; biodiversity; intellectual property law, Pakistan law, plant breeder rights; plant patent law
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