The U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) needs to be modernized and updated.
That’s the message SAF carried to the Senate this week during a lobbying offensive with several other industry organizations.
The PVPA was enacted in 1970 to protect the intellectual property of breeders of floral varieties and other agricultural products. The law is crucial to the growth and innovation of America’s floriculture industry.
The law was amended in 1994 to add protections for creators of plant varieties from being exploited by essentially derived varieties (EDVs) — mutations or sports of protected varieties and varieties that have minor or inconsequential changes in relation to the initial variety.
However, under the PVPA plant variety protection is limited to sexually reproduced (seed) varieties.
Since the PVPA was last amended, development of new plant varieties using conventional breeding methods has given way to advanced technological methods which are asexual in nature.
Because the PVPA does not address asexual reproduction, EDVs obtained from asexually reproduced plants can be brought to market very quickly by an unauthorized party who takes a patented plant variety and induces a sport or mutation (EDV) through plant radiation or other genetic process.
SAF, AmericanHort and the American Seed Trade Association successfully included in the House version of the Farm Bill language to modernize the PVPA. This week, several meetings were held in the Senate to have the same language included in that chamber’s version of the Farm Bill.