Plant Variety Rights
To encourage research and breeding of plant varieties, Thailand's Department of Intellectual Property issues Plant Variety Certificates to breeders. The Plant Variety Certificate protects discovered or developed plant species and their names against copying for up to 27 years, allowing breeders to commercialize, produce or export their research results without competition and to make their research profitable.
Plant Variety Rights (PVR) / Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR)
What law governs Plant Variety Rights in Thailand?
Since 1999, intellectual property protection for plant varieties has been provided in Thailand by the Plant Variety Protection Act B.E. 2542.
Thailand is not a member of the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), which has seventy-five members.
What are the criteria for obtaining a Plant Variety Certificate?
A new, created or discovered plant variety is eligible for a Plant Variety Certificate if:
It is clearly distinguishable from any other variety whose existence is a matter of common knowledge at the date of filing of the application;
It is homogeneous, i.e. sufficiently uniform in its relevant characteristics;
It remains stable, i.e. identical to its initial definition, at the end of each multiplication cycle.
“New” means that the variety must not have been offered for sale or marketed in the Kingdom of Thailand with the agreement of the breeder, his successor or successors in title, for more than 12 months before the filing of the application.
Procedure for the grant of Plant Variety Certificates
To obtain Plant Variety Certificate valid in Thailand, the applicant must file an application with the of the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP). The examination procedure lasts approximately 6 months.
Any variety which is the subject of a Plant Variety Certificate application is subject to a technical examination for Distinctness, Plant Protection Research and Development Office of the Department of Agriculture (DOA).
Cost of obtaining a plant variety certificate
The fee for filing the application is 1000 Thai baht and annual fees for maintaining the certificate in force is 1000 Thai baht per year.
What rights does a Plant Variety Certificate grant to its owner?
The Plant Variety Certificate confers on its breeder an exclusive right for:
Production of the variety;
Introduction and sale of the protected plant variety in the Kingdom of Thailand.
This right applies not only to the plant variety itself, but also to any part of the variety, and to the elements of plant propagation of the variety. It also applies to plant varieties resulting from the hybridization of the initial variety whose reproduction requires the use of the initial variety.
Term of protection of the Plant Variety Certificate
The Plant Variety Certificate is valid for 12 to 27 years depending of the plant variety:
12 years for plant varieties which bear fruits after being cultivated for less than two years;
17 years for plant varieties which bear fruits after being cultivated for more than two years;
27 years for plant varieties which parts can be used for more than two years after cultivation.
Patentability of plants in Thailand
As set out in the Patent Act B.E. 2535, plants are expressly excluded from patentability. Therefore, patents are not granted for plants. Plant Breeders’ Rights, through the Plant Variety Certificate, are the only possible way to protect plant varieties.
However, the protection granted by the Plant Variety Certificate can be deemed similar to patents: The Plant Variety Certificate allows the breeder to have a monopoly on the exploitation of the protected variety, but authorizes the use of this protected variety to breed a new one and commercialize it if it is sufficiently distinct.