Almost 10,000 UK PBRs at risk of cancellation

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) published the latest edition of the Gazette Special Edition listing all UK Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) corrected up to 29 February 2024.

Anemone hybrid Frilly Knickers
credit: Plants For Europe

The end of February was the deadline for holders of UK rights to inform the 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. The APHA has threatened the cancellation of rights where such data had not been supplied by the 29th of 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 to explain that the APHA is still accepting documents and that as an independent plant breeder’s agent, they can provide assistance. Spencer said that the APHA has indicated that there will be no immediate mass cancellation of UK PBRs whilst the DEFRA legal teams work through the issue, which means that there is a brief window for action. He warned however that variety owners must act immediately and not to be complacent.