Review: Shifting patterns in plant cultivar protection for field crops in Canada.

Carew, R., Florkowski, W.J., and DePauw, R.M. (2015). "Review: Shifting patterns in plant cultivar protection for field crops in Canada.", Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 95(5), pp. 813-829. doi : 10.4141/CJPS2013-235  Access to full text

Abstract

In an era of increased globalization of agricultural trade and rapid biotechnology advances in developing crops with multiple traits, public and private institutions are facing increasing pressure to protect their technologies and develop partnerships to fund research. Under the auspices of international intellectual property rights agreements, Canada adopted stronger intellectual property rights policies to protect new plant cultivars and reward owners for their innovative efforts. This paper illustrates how Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) applications for agriculture field crop (cereals, oilseeds, pulses) cultivars and registered cultivars by the Canadian Variety Registration Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (VROCFIA) have evolved over the past 20 yr in response to changes in domestic and international plant cultivar protection policies. The paper also examines the patenting pattern for plant-related traits and technologies. The paper found the bulk of PBR applications for field crops were accounted for by oilseeds followed by cereal and pulse crops such as field pea. In contrast to wheat and canola, which are protected by PBR and registered by the Canadian VROCFIA, pulse crops such as lentil have been developed by Canadian universities and funded by producer levies and released to growers without PBR protection. Among plant-related patents, most of them were credited to corn followed by canola and soybean. The Canadian public sector filed plant patents mainly for canola and concentrated on traits such as insect and disease resistance. The bulk of canola or soybean PBRs applications were by multinational life science seed companies, while the majority of wheat and barley were credited to public institutions such as the Canadian federal department of agriculture and universities.

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