Amendments were introduced into the legislation in the sphere of the protection of rights of plant varieties, seed production and seedling

The Parliament of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine dated 16 November 2022 No. 2763-IX “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Bringing Legislation in the Field of Protection of Rights to Plant Varieties and Seed Production and Nurseries into Compliance with the Provisions of European Union Legislation”, which amends the laws of Ukraine “On the Protection of Rights of Plant Varieties” and “On Seeds and Planting Material” (“The Law”).

The review of legislation on plant varieties, seeds, and planting material was prompted by the need to ensure the effective implementation of obligations under the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. The purpose of the Law is to improve several provisions in regulatory acts that complicate the expertise of new plant varieties and their state registration, which results in a complex, unpredictable, and time-consuming process of acquiring rights to a variety; to ensure the fastest possible circulation and access to the latest varieties/hybrids for farmers, to optimise legal regulation in the field of plant variety rights acquisition, distribution and commercialisation of a variety, and to liberalise the process of circulating seed and planting material samples.

The Law introduces changes to the Law of Ukraine dated 21 April 1993 No. 3116-XII “On the Protection of Rights of Plant Varieties”:

  • A number of terms have been clarified in accordance with EU directives and international rules on the protection of plant variety rights, to which the state has joined at the legislative level;
  • The procedure for registering varieties already registered in the USA and/or the EU has been simplified – registration of such varieties is carried out without conducting qualification expertise. At the same time, confirmation of the registration of varieties in the EU and/or the USA is information from the general list (catalogue) of EU varieties and information from UPOV (The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants – an intergovernmental organisation, Geneva, Switzerland);
  • The Law provides for the possibility to submit an application for a variety of electronically;
  • Article 27 improves the procedure for qualification expertise. A new institution is introduced – the Variety Expert (an official of the expert institution responsible for conducting qualification expertise), which is chosen by the applicant when applying. Requirements and responsibilities of the Variety Expert are established;
  • The import of research samples of a variety intended for conducting qualification expertise of a variety into Ukraine shall now be carried out based on a notification of acceptance of a variety application for consideration, import of research samples of a variety for the purposes of qualification expertise of a variety, and an official sample issued by the Competent Authority;
  • Article 38 identifies subjects of the right to distribute a variety and the actions with respect to planting material of a variety that this right implies;
  • Article 41 reduces the term of validity of intellectual property rights to a plant variety by 5 years for tree and shrub crops, grapes, and all other varieties.

The Law also amends the Law of Ukraine dated 26 December 2002 No. 411-IV “On Seeds and Planting Material” as follows:

  • The Law has been supplemented with requirements for maintaining a registry of seed and nursery plant material entities;
  • The Law provides conditions for importing into the territory of Ukraine of seed varieties that are parental components, providing the possibility of submitting an application for confirmation in paper or electronic form;
  • Article 28 provides for liability for intentional production, preparation, packaging, labelling, stocking, offering for sale, and storage of counterfeit seeds and/or planting material for sale purposes. Such actions entail a fine for individuals in the amount of 1 to 5 thousand non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens (from 17 to 85 thousand UAH), and for officials – from 5 to 10 thousand non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens (from 85 to 170 thousand UAH), with the confiscation of counterfeit products, equipment for the production of counterfeit seeds and/or planting material.

The Law will come into effect on 10 June 2023.

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