Intellectual property information

Comparison of variety protection systems and key points for foreign applications: Japan, China, South Korea, and the United States

Comparison of variety protection systems and key points for foreign applications
Japan, China, South Korea, USA

Japan

Annual number of applications (2021)

About 776

Jurisdictional organization

Ministry of Agriculture

Protection period

25 years since registration (30 years for trees, etc.)

Application language

日本語

Required application documents, etc.

Variety registration application, instructions, photos, etc.

*Required documents if applicable
Characteristic list, power of attorney, transfer certificate, etc., priority claim documents, special notification form regarding restrictions on export destination country, special notification form regarding restrictions on production area, approval of genetically modified plants based on the Cartagena Law, etc.

Period of non-assignability (novelty)

Domestic: 1 year
Overseas: 4 years (6 years for trees, etc.)

Characteristic examination

Cultivation test or field survey
*It may be determined that a written examination based on the examination result report of the UPOV member country or the search report conducted by the applicant is possible.

(Reference) Possibility of protection by patent

Plants can be protected by patents as long as they meet patent requirements such as novelty and inventive step.
*Examples of objects to be protected: plants, breeding methods, DNA useful for breeding new varieties, etc.

Key points for foreign applications

・When filing a foreign application based on a Japanese application as the basis for claiming priority, prepare the priority claim documents early, keeping in mind that the foreign application should be filed within one year from the Japanese application.
・Even without claiming priority, it is possible to apply abroad if the requirements such as non-assignment (novelty) of the application country are met

 

Chugoku

Annual number of applications (2021)

About 11,195

Jurisdictional organization

Herbaceous plants: Agriculture and rural areas
Woody plants: National Forestry and Grassland Administration

Protection period

15 years from registration (20 years for trees, etc.)

Application language

Chinese

Required application documents, etc.

Variety protection application, instructions, photos and brief explanations, genetic diagrams, etc.

*Required documents if applicable
Power of attorney, priority claim document, GMO variety safety evaluation certificate, etc.

Period of non-assignability (novelty)

Domestic: 1 year
Overseas: 4 years (6 years for trees, etc.)

Characteristic examination

Cultivation test, field survey or document review

(Reference) Possibility of protection by patent

Plant varieties are not protected by patents (Article 25 of the Patent Law)

Key points for foreign applications

・Agency fees will be free for both the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Department and the National Forestry and Grassland Administration from April 2017.
- Application must be filed within the period of non-assignment (novelty)
・If outsourcing cultivation is required for the on-site survey, arrangements for a cultivation outsourcing company and fees for outsourcing cultivation are required.

 

South Korea

Annual number of applications (2021)

About 625

Jurisdictional organization

Agricultural plants: National Seed Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock and Food
Forest plants: National Forest Variety Management Center of the Ministry of Forestry
Aquatic plants: Marine Plant Variety Management Center, National Academy of Fisheries Science, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries

Protection period

20 years from registration (25 years for trees, etc.)

Application language

Korean

Required application documents, etc.

Variety protection application, breeding process, characteristic table, characteristic description, photographs, seed samples (in the case of vegetatively propagated plants, sample submission confirmation letter), etc.

*Required documents if applicable
Power of attorney, transfer certificate, ownership certificate, risk assessment report (genetically modified varieties), priority claim documents, etc.

Period of non-assignability (novelty)

Domestic: 1 year
Overseas: 4 years (6 years for trees, etc.)

Characteristic examination

Cultivation test, field survey or commissioned test
*Document examinations based on foreign examination results reports are generally not accepted.

(Reference) Possibility of protection by patent

Plants can be protected by patents as long as they meet patent requirements such as novelty and inventive step.
*Examples of protection targets: Plant breeding methods, propagation methods, transformed plants, plant parts, etc.

Key points for foreign applications

- Application must be filed within the period of non-assignment (novelty)
・If outsourcing cultivation is required for the on-site survey, arrangements for a cultivation outsourcing company and fees for outsourcing cultivation are required.
-Vegetatively propagated plants: Failure to submit samples by the specified deadline may invalidate the application procedure.

 

米 国

Annual number of applications (2021)

Variety protection: Approximately 1,902 items
Plant patents: Approximately 964

Jurisdictional organization

Variety protection: Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Plant patents: Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Protection period

Variety protection: 20 years from registration (25 years for trees, etc.)
Plant patent: 20 years since application

Application language

English

Required application documents, etc.

・Variety protection: Application form, Exhibit A (history and breeding history of the variety), Exhibit B (statement of distinctiveness), Exhibit C (objective explanation of the variety), Exhibit E (statement of basis of ownership), etc.
*Required documents if applicable: Exhibit D (additional explanation), Exhibit F (declaration regarding deposit), transfer certificate, priority claim document, etc.
*Seeds (tissue culture plants for tuber plants) must be sent to the National Institute for Genetic Resources Protection (NLGRP) within 3 months of application.

・Plant patent: Application data sheet, specification/claims, drawings, declaration, IDS (information disclosure statement), etc.
*Required documents if applicable: power of attorney, transfer certificate, priority claim document, etc.

Period of non-assignability (novelty)

Variety protection: 1 year in Japan
     4 years overseas (6 years for trees, etc.)
Plant patent: 1 year

Characteristic examination

Document examination
* Cultivation tests are not conducted for variety protection or plant patents, but a written examination is conducted based on the results of cultivation tests conducted by the applicant.

(Reference) Possibility of protection by patent

Plants can also be protected by patents (general patents) as long as they meet patent requirements such as novelty and inventive step.
*Example of protected items: Plant breeding methods, new varieties created by genetic recombination, etc.

Key points for foreign applications

・No annual registration fee required for variety protection and plant patents
- Application must be filed within the period of non-assignment (novelty)
・Plant patent: Only vegetatively propagated plants (excluding tuber plants) are eligible for protection.
・Variety protection: Both vegetatively propagated plants and seed propagated plants are subject to protection.

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