Plant Breeders' Rights
In Norway, plant varieties cannot be protected by a patent. In 1993, after Norway became a party to the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), the Plant Variety Board was however established to provide plant variety protection. The Board is administered by the Norwegian Agricultural Inspection Service, which is now a part of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.
In the field of Norwegian intellectual property rights there is a difference between new plants in general (which can be patented) and new plant varieties (which cannot be patented, but can obtain other types of protection). In § 2 of the Norwegian Act on Plant Breeders Rights, plant varieties are defined as plants that a) can be clearly distinguished from all other varieties that were known before the date of application, b) are sufficiently uniform, c) are stable in the characteristics, enabling the variety to be clearly distinguished from the other varieties specified in litra (a), when propagated as indicated by the variety owner, and d) have not been sold or offered for sale with the consent of the variety owner (1) in this Realm before the date of application, or (2) abroad more than six years before the date of application in the case of vines, trees and their rootstocks or more than four years before the date of application in the case of other plants. The Plant Variety Board will evaluate whether the application complies with criteria a)-d). Plants that are possible to protect through the plant breeders rights, might for instance be plants with a new scent, a new decorative look, a new taste, sturdiness, etc. However, in this case we are talking about a new plant variety which belongs to previously known classical plant species.
A plant breeders right has a duration of 20 years from the date of grant (25 years for trees and vines) provided that the annual fee has been paid. Infringement of the plant breeders right constitutes grounds for compensation, and the infringer is liable to fines or imprisonment.
We will assess whether you should apply for a patent or for plant breeders rights, and can file both types of applications for you. An opposition against an application for a plant breeders right or an appeal of a rejection is handled by the Norwegian Patent Office, and disputes are brought before Oslo City Court. We can assist in all instances.