Two PVR stories in the news

There are two news stories this week related to Plant Variety Rights – both are worth looking at.

Firstly, Marco van Noort and Blooms of Bressingham have come to agreement over a long running dispute concerning two very similar varieties of Geranium, Rozanne (Gerwat) and Jolly Bee. Horticulture Week covers the story here. As I have written in the comments at Horticulture Week, I think that this whole episode illustrates the need for more robust DUS testing during the PVR application process and, in particular, an increase in the “minimum distance” between a candidate variety and the comparator varieties. CIOPORA has a working group on DUS at the moment, so I’m hoping that the organisation will soon have a strong lobbying position to take to the CPVO and others. My impression from the recent CIOPORA conference in Seville was that breeders generally would prefer to see minimum distances increased, provided of course that we have an understanding of what the minimum distance required to pass the distinctiveness test should be.

Secondly, the long-running Schräder versus CPVO case seems finally to have reached a conclusion. IPKat reports on it here and the official record of the judgment of the European Court of Justice can be found here. This judgment will give the CPVO more confidence, I think, and reinforces its existing procedures. It also rather serves as a salutary warning for applicants that they really need to be sure of their facts! I honestly think that, if the applicant is invited to the DUS examination trial and cannot identify his own variety when growing alongside the comparator, trouble lies ahead!