Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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Key Takeaways

  • The Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001 is a Parliamentary Act created to allow for the construction of an effective system for protecting plant variations, farmers' and plant breeders' rights, and encouraging the development of new plant varieties.
  • After India joined the World Trade Organization in 1995 and agreed to implement the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act was enacted in 2001.
  • On November 11, 2005, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare formed the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority to carry out the provisions of the Act.

Introduction

To facilitate the creation of an efficient system for the protection of plant varieties, the authority of farmers and plant breeders, and to foster the creation of new plant varieties, it has been determined that farmers' rights in regard to their contributions made at any time in conserving, improving, and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new plant varieties must be recognized and protected. The Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001 is a Parliamentary Act created to allow for the construction of an effective system for protecting plant variations, farmers' and plant breeders' rights, and encouraging the development of new plant varieties.

The Plant Breeders, Researchers, and Farmers Act of 2001 was passed to guarantee intellectual property rights to plant breeders, research scientists, and farmers who have generated new or existing plant types. The Intellectual Property Right provided under the PPV & FR Act, 2001 has a dual right: one for the variation and one for the denomination issued by the breeder. The rights conferred by this Act are heritable and transferable, and only the licensing of a plant variety imparts them. The legislation acknowledges the efforts of both commercial plant breeders and farmers to plant breeding activity and also provides for the implementation of TRIPs in a manner that protects the specific socioeconomic concerns of all stakeholders, including the private, public, and research domains, as well as resource-constrained farmers.

Historical Background

After India joined the World Trade Organization in 1995 and agreed to implement the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act was enacted in 2001, and discussions took place in the country about how licenced innovation rights should be presented in Indian horticulture (TRIPS).

After entering the WTO in 1995, India had the option of enacting legislation or accepting the plant breeders' rights granted by the International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV Convention). Previously, the UPOV option was rejected because it prevented farmers the ability to re-use farm-saved seeds and trading those with their neighbours. Nevertheless, officially joined the UPOV convention in 2002. The final option was rejected mostly because the current UPOV adaption, which was adopted in 1991, prevented farmers the ability to reuse any saved seeds and exchanging them with their neighbours.

Along these lines, India included a section on Farmers' Rights in The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act in which farmers are regarded as plant raisers and can enrol their assortments; farmers concerned with the preservation of hereditary resources of landraces and wilder family members of monetary plants and their development through choice and safekeeping are perceived and compensated,and assuring farmers' customary activities of sparing seeds from one gather and utilising the saved seeds either for planting for their next reap or giving them to their homestead neighbours are recognised and compensated.

Objectives of the Act

The Scheme's major goals are to give grants to the Authority for operating costs and the execution of Act provisions, as well as financial help to DUS Centres for producing recommendations for designated crops for the Distinctness, Uniformity, and Stability (DUS) test. The Act aims to achieve the following objectives

  • To build an effective framework for protecting plant varieties, farmers' and plant breeders' rights, and to foster the production of new plant types.
  • Recognize and preserve farmers' rights in relation to their contributions made at any time in conserving, enhancing, and making plant genetic resources available for the development of new plant kinds.
  • Accelerate agricultural growth in the country, preserve plant breeders' rights, and boost investment in R&D in both the public and commercial sectors for the creation of new plant types.
  • Encourage the establishment of the country's seed business, which will guarantee farmers have access to high-quality seeds and planting materials.

Rights Under the Act

Farmers' varieties are accepted for registration, and farmers are not required to pay any fees in any procedures brought under this Act. Farmers can seek compensation if a licensed variety fails to perform as promised under specified conditions. This Act grants the sole right to produce, trade, promote, distribute, acquire, and export a variety of plants. Civil and criminal remedies are established for the enforcement of breeders' rights, as well as measures for benefit sharing and compulsory licencing in the event that a recognized variety is not offered to the general public at a reasonable price. Compensation is also offered for village or rural areas if any registered variety was established employing any variety to the development of which such village or local community made a substantial contribution.

Breeder’s Rights

The protected variety shall be produced, sold, marketed, distributed, imported, and exported exclusively by breeders. In the event of an infringement of rights, the breeder may appoint an agent/licensee and seek civil remedies.

Researcher’s Rights

Under the Act, researchers may perform experiments or studies using any of the registered varieties. This includes using a variety as an original source of variation for the purpose of producing another variety, but recurring usage requires the registered breeder's consent.

Farmer’s Rights

A farmer who has evolved or produced a new variety has the same right to registration and preservation as a breeder of a variety. Farmers' varieties can also be recognised as existing varieties. A farmer may conserve, use, sow, re-sow, trade, share, or sell agricultural produce, including seeds of a variety protected by the Act, as he was entitled prior to the Act's enactment.

Farmers are qualified for recognition and incentives for conserving Plant Genetic Resources of landraces and wild relatives of economic plants; there is also a stipulation for compensation to farmers for non-performance of variety under Section 39 (2) of the Act, 2001, and farmers are not mandated to pay any premium in any proceedings before the Authority, Registrar, Tribunal, or High Court under the Act.

Communities Rights

The advantages of the networks, as defined, include payment for networks' involvement in the development of novel assortments in quantities to be governed by The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act Authority under Section 41 (1) of the Act.

Implementation of the Act

On November 11, 2005, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare formed the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority to carry out the provisions of the Act. The Authority's Chief Executive is the Chairperson. According to the Government of India, the Authority comprises 15 members in addition to the Chairperson (GOI). The Central Government appoints eight of them as ex-officio members, comprising diverse Departments/ Ministries, three from SAUs and State Governments, and one delegate each for farmers, tribal organisations, seed industry, and women organisations involved in agricultural activities. The Authority's ex-officio Member Secretary is the Registrar General.

The authority worked towards

  • New plant variety registration, essentially derived varieties (EDV), and existing varieties;
  • DUS (Distinctiveness, Uniformity, and Stability) test protocols for new plant species are being developed.
  • Creating characterisation and documentation for registered kinds;
  • Plant cataloguing is required for all types of plants.
  • Plant genetic resources of economic plants and their wild cousins should be preserved.
  • Upkeep of the National Plant Varieties Register.
  • Upkeep of the National Gene Bank.
  • Farmers' variety documentation, indexing, and cataloguing.
  • Recognizing and praising farmers and farmer communities, particularly tribal and rural communities involved in conservation and improvement.

Conclusion

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act is an effective sui generis arrangement that balances the rights of plant reproducers, ranchers, and experts. The act of small, modest ranchers trading the obtained material with others is critical for their work and practices in India and the majority of Asia-creative Pacific's nations. Although some argue that the Act dissuades research and innovation by allowing farmers to use patented varieties and thus making private companies hesitant to bring modern technology, the Indian government in their National Intellectual Property Rights Policy has evidenced the number of filings by the Authority requesting assistance from various partners for expansive admissions of new, surviving, and decided plant assortments.


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