Friday, December 8, 2023

Cultivar developer will defend seed rights

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PGW Seeds invests a lot of money every year developing new cultivars and associated technologies and is prepared to vigorously protect its intellectual rights, New Zealand general manager David Green says.
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He was speaking after Ashburton-based company Wholesale Seeds published a notice saying it had reached a significant confidential settlement with PGW Seeds over the sale of one of its products, Vulcan Kale.

Wholesale Seeds unreservedly apologised to PGG Wrightson Seeds for inadvertently breaching the Plant Variety Rights Act in regards to a licensed, protected cultivar.

The sale of the Vulcan Kale cultivar will stop immediately, director James Smith said in the public notice.

Green said he couldn’t comment on the agreement details.

The Vulcan Kale seed is understood to have been sold by Wholesale Seeds over the last two to three years.

Smith could not be contacted for comment.

The Plant Breeders Association hopes the Government will start action this year to toughen legislative protections for the proprietary rights of seed and plant breeders, general manager Thomas Chin said.

The Act, in force since 1987, is well out of date and a replacement is required by the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership to be in force and operating by December 2021.

The association hopes Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Chris Faafoi will make recommendations to Cabinet later this year so legislation can be introduced to Parliament by the start of May.

“All seed and plant breeders want to see a robust  penalty and enforcement regime where there is a breach of owners’ rights.”

In submissions to the Commerce Ministry the association also advocated for legislation allowing farmer-growers the right to save seed from a proprietary cultivar for re-sowing, subject to a royalty payment to the owner of the rights.

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