The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or UPOV (French: Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales) is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The current Secretary-General of UPOV is Francis Gurry.
UPOV was established by the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. The Convention was adopted in Paris in 1961 and revised in 1972, 1978 and 1991. The objective of the Convention is the protection of new varieties of plants by an intellectual property right. By codifying intellectual property for plant breeders, UPOV aims to encourage the development of new varieties of plants for the benefit of society.
For plant breeders' rights to be granted, the new variety must meet four criteria under the rules established by UPOV.
- The new plant must be novel, which means that it must not have been previously marketed in the country where rights are applied for.
- The new plant must be distinct from other available varieties.
- The plants must display homogeneity.
- The trait or traits unique to the new variety must be stable so that the plant remains true to type after repeated cycles of propagation.
Protection can be obtained for a new plant variety (legally defined) however it has been obtained, e.g. through conventional breeding techniques or genetic engineering.
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