Plant Variety Protection Act: PVP Basics

The Plant Variety Protection Act, first signed into law in 1970 and amended in 1994, helps provide patent-like rights to those contributing to the development of new varieties of plants. The benefits of such an act provide individuals taking the time to improve the industry with the ability to take ownership in the seed and earn a certificate to control its distribution.

Overall, the idea is to protect the owner of the certified seed and allow for the research costs endured to be covered through the sales of the developed product. Concerning the PVP act, protection allows the certificate holder to monitor how the seed is sold or advertised, and determines who then may be given permission to do so.

If the owner of the certified seed then feels someone has illegal sold or distributed the property illegally, he or she then may bring civil action against the people involved and receive compensation.

Title V Plant Variety Protection Benefits U.S. Agriculture and You

  • Encourages development of resourceful wheat varieties.
  • Ensures better agronomic wheat varieties for producers.
  • Provides genetically pure varieties to the producer through the use of certified seed.
  • Ensures on going wheat variety development by public and private plant breeders.
  • Grants developers patent-like protection from the sale of protected varieties.
  • Promotes agriculture progress in the public interest.

Information on Certified Wheat Seed

  • Most varieties are sold by variety name as a class of certified seed.
  • Many varieties are the culmination of years of research and testing to provide the best possible combination of yield, disease resistance, standability and grain quality.
  • The seeds are field inspected, as well as lab tested to meet state seed certification standards.
  • Buying certified seed from a licensed dealer provides security in purchasing the highest quality seed available.

Interesting PVPA Enforcement Lawsuit

Watley Seed Co. v. Bronco Seed Co., et al., N.D. Tex., No. 10-CV-271-C – Our client owns proprietary varieties of seed that are federally protected under the Plant Variety Protection Act.

An undercover investigation revealed a black market where the protected seed was being bought and sold regularly without authority or payment of royalties. We initiated the lawsuit by seeking and receiving a TRO that permitted, with the aid of federal marshals, a surprise seizure of evidence from the business at the center of the piracy network.

The case began against two producers and a seed conditioner, but in the course of discovery it was determined the seed conditioner facilitated a far larger network of unauthorized activity in a local community.

After amending the lawsuit to add more than a dozen additional defendants, we secured consent judgments and settlement agreements for PVPA infringement claims totaling $616,000 against 17 Texas defendants engaged in the sale, purchase, or conditioning of proprietary wheat seed.