Trade secrets and other IP protection
Plant Breeders' Rights
Plant Breeders' Rights (PBR) are a form of intellectual property (IP) designed specifically to protect new varieties of plants. The PBR holder can prevent anyone else from producing, selling, importing and exporting plants and seeds of the protected variety.
To get these rights, your plant variety must be:
- distinct - have different characteristics to other plants of the same species
- uniform - all plants in the variety must share the same characteristics
- stable - it remains unchanged after 'repeated propagation', eg reproduction from seeds, cuttings, bulbs or other plant parts
A breeder who develops a new plant or seed variety must apply for National Listing, which gives protection in the UK, to the Plant Variety Rights Office.
For new plant varieties after 1 January 2021, you must apply separately in the UK and the EU. See Brexit: Plant variety rights and marketing plant reproductive material from 1 January 2021.
Who can apply for PBR?
You can only apply for PBR if you've bred, discovered or developed a plant variety, or if you've been chosen by the breeder as their successor.
Your rights mean that nobody can use your plant species, without your permission, for:
- production or reproduction
- selling or offering for sale
- altering so it can be propagated
- exporting or importing
- keep stock of your plant species for any reason
Your rights last for 25 years (30 years for trees, vines or potato varieties).
In addition to PBR, the name of a new variety of plant or seed can be registered as a trade mark. See more on trade marks.