Several UPOV bodies will be meeting in Geneva for its autumn session during the week of 23rd to 27th October 2017. Its main rule-making body, the Consultative Committee (CC) will meet on 25th October, and UPOV’s highest decision-making body, the UPOV Council will hold its meeting on 26th October. The proceedings of the CC, where Council decisions are prepared, is closed to observers. The Working Group on a possible International System of Cooperation (WG-ISC) will meet on 24th October, also without the presence of observers. The Administrative and Legal Committee will meet on 23rd and on the morning of 24th October. Other bodies of UPOV that will meet, include the Working Group on Variety Denominations and the Meeting on the Development of an Electronic Application Form.
Important agenda items include Interrelations between UPOV and the ITPGRFA, and the International System of Cooperation (ISC).
Three countries have submitted their draft Plant Variety Protection legislations: Guatemala, Myanmar and Brunei Darussalam. The UPOV Council will examine the conformity of the draft laws with the 1991 Act of the Convention.
Interrelations between UPOV and the ITPGRFA
The following-up of the Symposium on Interrelations between UPOV and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) held in autumn 2016 was planned to be discussed in the spring 2017 session, but was postponed to the autumn 2017 session.
Following the Symposium, the Consultative Committee in autumn 2016 agreed to invite members and observers to provide suggestions for any further action concerning interrelations between the ITPGRFA and the UPOV Convention for the consideration by the CC at its ninety-third session.
In its submission to UPOV of 16 January 2017, APBREBES recommends a revision of the Explanatory Note on Exceptions to the Breeder's Right under the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention (UPOV/EXN/EXC/1) as to include all acts of smallholder farmers in relation to the protected variety i.e. to freely save, use, exchange and sell farm saved seed/propagating material. The Explanatory Note should also clarify that all breeding activities of farmers, including breeding by selection, within the scope of breeders’ exemption. APBREBES also recommends the adoption of a decision that recognizes the right of governments to implement, in its PVP legislation, provisions to realize fair and equitable benefit sharing. Moreover, APBREBES recommends a decision that the UPOV Convention and its members shall respect, promote and implement Farmers’ Right to participate in decision-making processes in all UPOV activities and subsequently develop guidelines to implement Farmers’ Right to participate in decision-making in relation to such activities.
See the full APBREBES submission of 16 January 2017.
The document before the Consultative Committee of the spring session that contains the submissions of Norway, Peru, Ecuador, ESA, ISF and APBREBES has been received through member countries’ Freedom of Information Acts and can be downloaded here.
APBREBES is invited to the Consultative Committee CC94 meeting on 25th October to present its position.
For background information see
International System of Cooperation
Since it was first introduced in 2014, several UPOV member states have questioned the proposed International System for Cooperation. In particular, they requested evidence on a need for a harmonized mechanism and its implications for national and regional plant variety offices. Some member states have also underlined that UPOV already has mechanisms such as the PLUTO and GENIE databases that, to some extent, help expedite the work and promote cooperation on DUS testing, and asked for more concrete evidence of the need for a new system, as well as a cost-benefit analysis for the establishment of an ISC.
UPOV members have also raised concerns such as the impact of the new system for members at different levels of development and on regional systems; the average cost of protection; the financial impact of the new system on national offices; and the legal options for the creation of the system, bearing in mind the basis for the establishment through a contract, vis-à-vis other alternatives, such as a Patent Cooperation Treaty or Madrid-like agreement.
The CC91 concluded to establish a working group on a possible ISC, and CC92 decided on the mandate and Terms of Reference of the WG-ISC. The WG-ISC shall, among other, provide the CC with an analysis of the need for an International System of Cooperation, advantages and disadvantages of the proposal as well as the existence of a legal basis under the Acts of the UPOV Convention. The CC92 ruled that the WG-ISC is restricted to members, and in consequence, its documents are not publicly available. The WG-ISC comprises the members that expressed interest to be part of it: Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, EU (including CPVO, Estonia, France, Germany, Netherlands and UK), Japan, Norway, USA. Other members are free to participate at any meeting and make comments.
In its first meeting in October 2016, the WG-ISC prepared a list of issues relevant for the needs of PVP offices. At its second meeting, the WG-ISC agreed on several items on the list to not be a priority. On others, presentations by members of the WG-ISC were invited to be held dring the upcoming third meeting.
For more background information on the ISC, see