From Bio Journal - April 2020

Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act amendment

On 3 March 2020, an amendment of the Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act received cabinet approval and discussions have now begun in the Diet with a view to enforcing the amendment by 1 April. The purposes of the amendment are to strengthen intellectual property rights associated with the development of new varieties of crops, etc., and to expand restrictions on private seed saving and use by farmers.

The Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act is the domestic law enacted on the basis of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV: Union Internationale pour la Protection des Obtentions Végétales) and is a law that protects the rights of developers. The main purpose of the new amendment is to restrict the diffusion of superior varieties of fruits developed in Japan, of which there have been cases of cultivation overseas. However, whereas thus far farmers have been able to freely save and use seeds of almost all crops, in the case of registered varieties it will become necessary to pay large rights fees for a license from the rights holder and violations will be punished by the imposition of heavy fines, and so on.

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