Almost 10,000 UK PBRs at risk of being cancelled

APHA (The Animal and Plant Health Agency) has today published the latest edition of the Gazette Special Edition, which lists all UK Plant Breeders Rights, with data correct up to 29 February 2024.

The end of February was the deadline for holders of UK rights to inform APHA that they either want to retain or surrender their rights. For those that wish to retain their rights, they must provide UK address details – either their own, or the details of a UK-based agent to act on their behalf.

APHA has threatened the cancellation of rights where such data had not been supplied by 29 February.

According to the Gazette, APHA had not received this documentation for more than 9800 rights by the deadline. This is more than 40% of all valid UK PBRs.

Graham Spencer, director of Plants For Europe Limited, said: “Owners of UK Plant Breeder’s Rights must act immediately, or risk losing their UK intellectual property rights in their varieties.

"The number of rights for which no documentation has been submitted is astonishing. It’s a reflection of the poor communication from APHA, but also shows how many plant breeders, both UK-based and overseas, are unaware of the implications of the Brexit decision on their IP rights, including some big-name plant breeders.”

He continued: “APHA is still accepting documents and Plants For Europe is helping many breeders with this issue – we offer an agency service.

"APHA has indicated to us that there will be no immediate mass cancellation of UK PBRs whilst the DEFRA legal teams work through the issue, so there is a brief window for action. But this should not lead to complacency – variety owners should act immediately and can contact us for assistance.”

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