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Plant Breeders' Rights Office

The Plant Breeders' Rights (PBR) Office will be conducting site examinations during the 2021 growing season. We will be working with provincial public health officials to ensure that all provincial travel requirements are adhered to. If you requested and paid for site examinations last year (2020 growing season), there is no need to submit an updated site examination request form unless the anticipated date for the exam has changed. Any fees for site examinations paid last year, will automatically be applied to this growing season. If you have deferred trials from last year or if you are submitting a new request for the 2021 growing season, please complete the Request for Site Examination Form and Fee Payment Form and submit them to the PBR Office no later than May 1, 2021. If due to Covid-19, you are unable to grow the required PBR trial or unable to accommodate PBR Examiners onsite, please contact us to discuss options to defer the trial until the 2022 growing season. If you have any questions, please contact the PBR Office.

Plant Breeders' Rights are a form of intellectual property rights by which plant breeders can protect their new varieties in the same way an inventor protects a new invention with a patent.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency administers the Plant Breeders' Rights Act (1990) and Regulations which provide legal protection to plant breeders for new plant varieties for up to 25 years for a variety of tree and vine (including their rootstocks), and 20 years for all other varieties of plants.

Apply for Plant Breeders' Rights online

You can now apply online for Plant Breeders' Rights in Canada using the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) PRISMA application tool.

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Canada joined the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) in 1991. On March 4, 2021, Canada is celebrating 30 years of UPOV membership. In celebration, we invite you to watch the UPOV video below which highlights the importance and impact of PBR in Canada.

UPOV video transcript

Stock footage of cherries. Opening music playing. The UPOV logo appears with title "Canadian cherry growers benefit from government policy." Over the scene, a narrator speaks:

This is a story of how government has developed a policy to improve the livelihood of Canadian cherry growers. The Okanagan Valley, located in the province of British Colombia, is the heart of Canada's cherry growing region.

Since the introduction of Plant Breeders' Rights in 1991, a special relationship has developed between cherry growers in the region, and the Government of Canada.

A graphic appears on screen that says "Canada introduced its system of plant breeders' rights and became a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) in 1991." Over the scene, a narrator speaks:

In the early 1990s, the British Columbia Fruit Growers' Association partnered with the Federal Government and created a corporation to commercialize new cherry varieties developed from the region's public breeding program.

Summerland Varieties Corporation came into existence to manage the commercialization and intellectual property rights of new cherry varieties entering the marketplace, both domestically and internationally.

Mr. David Machial, a cherry grower from Oliver, British Columbia, appears on screen.

The Summerland breeding program, it's very important, because to make money in this business, you have to sell a premium cherry. It has to be big, firm, juicy and sweet, and the cherries that have come out of Summerland meet those requirements, so you can go into the marketplace. You can get premium price. Your customers are happy. Consumers love to eat them. It's just a win-win-win.

The narrator continues.

Canadian cherry growers are very supportive of their public cherry breeding program.

Summerland Varieties Corporation uses Plant Breeders' Rights to protect their investments in research and development, as well as support their competitiveness in international markets.

Significant efforts have been placed on breeding late ripening cherry varieties, to extend the production season. Some of the more recent releases of cherry varieties include; Staccato and Sentennial, which are popular with growers and buyers alike.

ITW Nick Ibuki, Business Development Manager, Summerland Varieties Corp., appears on screen.

One of the biggest competitive challenges in the past, before plant breeders' right was that new varieties would be developed here in British Columbia and they would go all over the world and they would actually be used to compete against our BC growers. So our growers would be competing against varieties that they paid for to develop here and there be similar harvest timing, except in the rest of the world they could plant them in a lot bigger areas and acreages.

The biggest change going forward in the future is some of the exciting varieties that have been developed here at the Summerland research and development centre. And what they have done is that they have actually developed varieties that harvest very early to very late. So they've been able to extend that harvest season so they can have varieties available from mid-June all the way into early September, which has really been a benefit to the Canadian growers and allowed for them to expand their acreages and support themselves.

The narrator continues.

These cherry varieties are proving to be successful not only with growers in Canada, but also with growers internationally. Summerland Varieties Corporation manages all licensing agreements when Canadian bred cherry varieties are grown and sold in other countries. They do so in a way that ensures that Canadian growers are the first to benefit from new varieties entering the marketplace.

ITW Sean Beirnes, General Manager, Summerland Varieties Corp., appears on screen.

When it comes to licencing, we provide Canadian growers and marketers with priority access.

By strategically allocating production and marketing territories, we ensure that Canadian growers and marketers, who represent a very small portion of the international fruit market, have an even playing field on which to compete. We would not be able to do this without plant breeders' rights.

The narrator continues.

The new cherry varieties released into the marketplace are being bred by the Canadian Government's Summerland Research and Development Centre. In fact, 80% of the sweet cherry varieties grown worldwide can trace their lineage back to this breeding station.

Plant Breeders' Rights intellectual property protection is the foundation of this partnership between Canadian cherry growers and the federal government breeding program. The revenue from royalties ensures a steady stream of income that can be re-invested in plant breeding, funding a continuous pipeline of new and improved varieties for Canadian growers moving into the future.

ITW Erin Wallich, Research and Development Manager, Summerland Varieties Corp., appears on screen.

The ultimate goal of Summerland Variety in terms of supporting the domestic cherry growers as well as the cherry breeding programme at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is to bring in enough royalties from both domestic growers and international growers that we can create a self-sustaining breeding program at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Mr. David Machial, a cherry grower from Oliver, British Columbia, appears on screen.

15 years ago, if you'd asked me how I feel about royalties, I wouldn't have been for it, because, you know, you go out and plant 2,000 trees and then you have to pay let's say 2,500 dollars in royalties. I'd rather have that money in my pocket. But now that I have more experience growing cherries, I'm very comfortable with it because I know that money is going back into the breeding program, which is going to develop new cherry varieties that I can be successful with in the future.

Scene fades away to show the UPOV logo and stock footage of cherries.

End of video.

The Plant Breeders' Rights Office has also collaborated with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) in contributing to the first ever section on Plant Breeders' Rights in CIPO's flagship report, the IP Canada Report 2020.

Adjusting service fees for inflation

Canadian Food Inspection Agency fees are updated annually on March 31 based on the Consumer Price Index. Learn more about adjusting service fees for inflation.

Please consult the Plant Breeders' Rights Fee Payment form or contact the Plant Breeders' Rights Office for the most up-to-date rates.

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