[USC02] 7 USC CHAPTER 57, SUBCHAPTER II: PROTECTABILITY OF PLANT VARIETIES AND CERTIFICATES OF PROTECTION
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7 USC CHAPTER 57, SUBCHAPTER II: PROTECTABILITY OF PLANT VARIETIES AND CERTIFICATES OF PROTECTION
From Title 7—AGRICULTURECHAPTER 57—PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION

SUBCHAPTER II—PROTECTABILITY OF PLANT VARIETIES AND CERTIFICATES OF PROTECTION

Part D—Protectability of Plant Varieties

§2401. Definitions and rules of construction

(a) Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1) Asexually reproduced

The term "asexually reproduced" means produced by a method of plant propagation using vegetative material (other than seed) from a single parent, including cuttings, grafting, tissue culture, and propagation by root division.

(2) Basic seed

The term "basic seed" means the seed planted to produce certified or commercial seed.

(3) Breeder

The term "breeder" means the person who directs the final breeding creating a variety or who discovers and develops a variety. If the actions are conducted by an agent on behalf of a principal, the principal, rather than the agent, shall be considered the breeder. The term does not include a person who redevelops or rediscovers a variety the existence of which is publicly known or a matter of common knowledge.

(4) Essentially derived variety

(A) In general

The term "essentially derived variety" means a variety that—

(i) is predominantly derived from another variety (referred to in this paragraph as the "initial variety") or from a variety that is predominantly derived from the initial variety, while retaining the expression of the essential characteristics that result from the genotype or combination of genotypes of the initial variety;

(ii) is clearly distinguishable from the initial variety; and

(iii) except for differences that result from the act of derivation, conforms to the initial variety in the expression of the essential characteristics that result from the genotype or combination of genotypes of the initial variety.

(B) Methods

An essentially derived variety may be obtained by the selection of a natural or induced mutant or of a somaclonal variant, the selection of a variant individual from plants of the initial variety, backcrossing, transformation by genetic engineering, or other method.

(5) Kind

The term "kind" means one or more related species or subspecies singly or collectively known by one common name, such as soybean, flax, or radish.

(6) Seed

The term "seed", with respect to a tuber propagated variety, means the tuber or the part of the tuber used for propagation.

(7) Sexually reproduced

The term "sexually reproduced" includes any production of a variety by seed, but does not include the production of a variety by tuber propagation.

(8) Tuber propagated

The term "tuber propagated" means propagated by a tuber or a part of a tuber.

(9) United States

The terms "United States" and "this country" mean the United States, the territories and possessions of the United States, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(10) Variety

The term "variety" means a plant grouping within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank, that, without regard to whether the conditions for plant variety protection are fully met, can be defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given genotype or combination of genotypes, distinguished from any other plant grouping by the expression of at least one characteristic and considered as a unit with regard to the suitability of the plant grouping for being propagated unchanged. A variety may be represented by seed, transplants, plants, tubers, tissue culture plantlets, and other matter.

(b) Rules of construction

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) Sale or disposition for nonreproductive purposes

The sale or disposition, for other than reproductive purposes, of harvested material produced as a result of experimentation or testing of a variety to ascertain the characteristics of the variety, or as a by-product of increasing a variety, shall not be considered to be a sale or disposition for purposes of exploitation of the variety.

(2) Sale or disposition for reproductive purposes

The sale or disposition of a variety for reproductive purposes shall not be considered to be a sale or disposition for the purposes of exploitation of the variety if the sale or disposition is done as an integral part of a program of experimentation or testing to ascertain the characteristics of the variety, or to increase the variety on behalf of the breeder or the successor in interest of the breeder.

(3) Sale or disposition of hybrid seed

The sale or disposition of hybrid seed shall be considered to be a sale or disposition of harvested material of the varieties from which the seed was produced.

(4) Application for protection or entering into a register of varieties

The filing of an application for the protection or for the entering of a variety in an official register of varieties, in any country, shall be considered to render the variety a matter of common knowledge from the date of the application, if the application leads to the granting of protection or to the entering of the variety in the official register of varieties, as the case may be.

(5) Distinctness

The distinctness of one variety from another may be based on one or more identifiable morphological, physiological, or other characteristics (including any characteristics evidenced by processing or product characteristics, such as milling and baking characteristics in the case of wheat) with respect to which a difference in genealogy may contribute evidence.

(6) Publicly known varieties

(A) In general

A variety that is adequately described by a publication reasonably considered to be a part of the public technical knowledge in the United States shall be considered to be publicly known and a matter of common knowledge.

(B) Description

A description that meets the requirements of subparagraph (A) shall include a disclosure of the principal characteristics by which a variety is distinguished.

(C) Other means

A variety may become publicly known and a matter of common knowledge by other means.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §41, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1546; Pub. L. 103–349, §2, Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3136; Pub. L. 115–334, title X, §10108(a), Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4906.)

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 115–334 added par. (1) and redesignated former pars. (1) to (9) as (2) to (10), respectively.

1994Pub. L. 103–349 amended section generally, substituting provisions consisting of subsecs. (a) and (b) for former provisions consisting of subsecs. (a) to (j).

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Pub. L. 103–349, §15, Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3145, provided that: "This Act [amending this section and sections 2327, 2330, 2353, 2354, 2357, 2402, 2404, 2422, 2423, 2424, 2425, 2442, 2461, 2462, 2463, 2482, 2483, 2486, 2501, 2504, 2532, 2541, 2542, 2543, 2561, 2566, 2567, 2568, and 2570 of this title, repealing sections 2463, 2502 and 2503 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section and section 2321 of this title] and the amendments made by this Act shall become effective 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 6, 1994]."

Transitional Provisions for 1994 Amendment

Pub. L. 103–349, §14, Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3144, provided that:

"(a) In General.—Except as provided in this section, any variety for which a certificate of plant variety protection has been issued prior to the effective date of this Act [see Effective Date of 1994 Amendment note above], and any variety for which an application is pending on the effective date of this Act, shall continue to be governed by the Plant Variety Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 2321 et seq.), as in effect on the day before the effective date of this Act.

"(b) Applications Refiled.—

"(1) In general.—An applicant may refile a pending application on or after the effective date of this Act [see Effective Date of 1994 Amendment note above].

"(2) Effect of refiling.—If a pending application is refiled on or after the effective date of this Act—

"(A) eligibility for protection and the terms of protection shall be governed by the Plant Variety Protection Act [7 U.S.C. 2321 et seq.], as amended by this Act; and

"(B) for purposes of section 42 of the Plant Variety Protection Act [7 U.S.C. 2402], as amended by section 3 of this Act, the date of filing shall be the date of filing of the original application.

"(c) Labeling.—

"(1) In general.—To obtain the protection provided to an owner of a protected variety under the Plant Variety Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 2321 et seq.) (as amended by this Act), a notice given by an owner concerning the variety under section 127 of the Plant Variety Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 2567) shall state that the variety is protected under such Act (as amended by this Act).

"(2) Sanctions.—Any person that makes a false or misleading statement or claim, or uses a false or misleading label, concerning protection described in paragraph (1) shall be subject to the sanctions described in section 128 of the Plant Variety Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 2568)."

§2402. Right to plant variety protection; plant varieties protectable

(a) In general

The breeder of any sexually reproduced, tuber propagated, or asexually reproduced plant variety (other than fungi or bacteria) who has so reproduced the variety, or the successor in interest of the breeder, shall be entitled to plant variety protection for the variety, subject to the conditions and requirements of this chapter, if the variety is—

(1) new, in the sense that, on the date of filing of the application for plant variety protection, propagating or harvested material of the variety has not been sold or otherwise disposed of to other persons, by or with the consent of the breeder, or the successor in interest of the breeder, for purposes of exploitation of the variety—

(A) in the United States, more than 1 year prior to the date of filing; or

(B) in any area outside of the United States—

(i) more than 4 years prior to the date of filing, except that in the case of a tuber propagated plant variety the Secretary may waive the 4-year limitation for a period ending 1 year after April 4, 1996; or

(ii) in the case of a tree or vine, more than 6 years prior to the date of filing;


(2) distinct, in the sense that the variety is clearly distinguishable from any other variety the existence of which is publicly known or a matter of common knowledge at the time of the filing of the application;

(3) uniform, in the sense that any variations are describable, predictable, and commercially acceptable; and

(4) stable, in the sense that the variety, when reproduced, will remain unchanged with regard to the essential and distinctive characteristics of the variety with a reasonable degree of reliability commensurate with that of varieties of the same category in which the same breeding method is employed.

(b) Multiple applicants

(1) In general

If 2 or more applicants submit applications on the same effective filing date for varieties that cannot be clearly distinguished from one another, but that fulfill all other requirements of subsection (a), the applicant who first complies with all requirements of this chapter shall be entitled to a certificate of plant variety protection, to the exclusion of any other applicant.

(2) Requirements completed on same date

(A) In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), if 2 or more applicants comply with all requirements for protection on the same date, a certificate shall be issued for each variety.

(B) Varieties indistinguishable

If the varieties that are the subject of the applications cannot be distinguished in any manner, a single certificate shall be issued jointly to the applicants.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §42, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1547; Pub. L. 103–349, §3, Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3138; Pub. L. 104–127, title IX, §913(a), Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 1186; Pub. L. 115–334, title X, §10108(b), Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4906.)

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 115–334 substituted ", tuber propagated, or asexually reproduced" for "or tuber propagated" in introductory provisions.

1996—Subsec. (a)(1)(B)(i). Pub. L. 104–127 inserted ", except that in the case of a tuber propagated plant variety the Secretary may waive the 4-year limitation for a period ending 1 year after April 4, 1996" after "filing".

1994Pub. L. 103–349 amended section generally, substituting present provisions for substantially similar former provisions.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

§2403. Reciprocity limits

Protection under this chapter may, by regulation, be limited to nationals of the United States, except where this limitation would violate a treaty and except that nationals of a foreign state in which they are domiciled shall be entitled to so much of the protection here afforded as is afforded by said foreign state to nationals of the United States for the same genus and species.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §43, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1547.)

§2404. Public interest in wide usage

The Secretary may declare a protected variety open to use on a basis of equitable remuneration to the owner, not less than a reasonable royalty, when the Secretary determines that such declaration is necessary in order to insure an adequate supply of fiber, food, or feed in this country and that the owner is unwilling or unable to supply the public needs for the variety at a price which may reasonably be deemed fair. Such declaration may be, with or without limitation, with or without designation of what the remuneration is to be; and shall be subject to review as under section 2461 or 2462 of this title (any finding that the price is not reasonable being reviewable), and shall remain in effect not more than two years. In the event litigation is required to collect such remuneration, a higher rate may be allowed by the court.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §44, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1547; Pub. L. 103–349, §13(f), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3143.)

Amendments

1994Pub. L. 103–349 substituted "the Secretary" for "he" before "determines" in first sentence.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

Part E—Applications; Form; Who May File; Relating Back; Confidentiality

§2421. Application for recognition of plant variety rights

(a) An application for a certificate of Plant Variety Protection may be filed by the owner of the variety sought to be protected. The application shall be made in writing to the Secretary, shall be signed by or on behalf of the applicant, and shall be accompanied by the prescribed fee.

(b) An error as to the naming of the breeder, without deceptive intent, may be corrected at any time, in accordance with regulations established by the Secretary.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §51, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1548.)

§2422. Content of application

An application for a certificate recognizing plant variety rights shall contain:

(1) The name of the variety except that a temporary designation will suffice until the certificate is to be issued. The variety shall be named in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary.

(2) A description of the variety setting forth its distinctiveness, uniformity, and stability and a description of the genealogy and breeding procedure, when known. The Secretary may require amplification, including the submission of adequate photographs or drawings or plant specimens, if the description is not adequate or as complete as is reasonably possible, and submission of records or proof of ownership or of allegations made in the application. An applicant may add to or correct the description at any time, before the certificate is issued, upon a showing acceptable to the Secretary that the revised description is retroactively accurate. Courts shall protect others from any injustice which would result. The Secretary may accept records of the breeder and of any official seed certifying agency in this country as evidence of stability where applicable.

(3) A statement of the basis of the claim of the applicant that the variety is new.

(4) A declaration that a viable sample of basic seed (including any propagating material) necessary for propagation of the variety will be deposited and replenished periodically in a public repository in accordance with regulations to be established hereunder.

(5) A statement of the basis of applicant's ownership.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §52, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1548; Pub. L. 96–574, §11, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3350; Pub. L. 103–349, §4, Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3139.)

Amendments

1994—Par. (1). Pub. L. 103–349, §4(1), inserted at end "The variety shall be named in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary."

Par. (2). Pub. L. 103–349, §4(2), in first sentence substituted "distinctiveness, uniformity, and stability" for "novelty".

Par. (3). Pub. L. 103–349, §4(4), added par. (3). Former par. (3) redesignated (4).

Par. (4). Pub. L. 103–349, §4(3), (5), redesignated par. (3) as (4) and inserted "(including any propagating material)" after "basic seed". Former par. (4) redesignated (5).

Par. (5). Pub. L. 103–349, §4(3), redesignated par. (4) as (5).

1980—Par. (3). Pub. L. 96–574 struck out provisions relating to adding of declaration by amendment.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

§2423. Joint breeders

(a) When two or more persons are the breeders, one person (or the successor of the person) may apply, naming the others.

(b) The Secretary, after such notice as the Secretary may prescribe, may issue a certificate of plant variety protection to the applicant and such of the other breeders (or their successors in interest) as may have subsequently joined in the application.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §53, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1548; Pub. L. 103–349, §13(g), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3143.)

Amendments

1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–349, §13(g)(1), substituted "one person (or the successor of the person)" for "one (or his successor)".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–349, §13(g)(2), substituted "the Secretary" for "he" before "may".

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

§2424. Death or incapacity of breeder

Legal representatives of deceased breeders and of those under legal incapacity may make application for plant variety protection upon compliance with the requirements and on the same terms and conditions applicable to the breeder or the successor in interest of the breeder.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §54, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1548; Pub. L. 103–349, §13(h), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3143.)

Amendments

1994Pub. L. 103–349 substituted "the successor in interest of the breeder" for "his successor in interest".

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

§2425. Benefit of earlier filing date

(a)(1) An application for a certificate of plant variety protection filed in this country based on the same variety, and on rights derived from the same breeder, on which there has previously been filed an application for plant variety protection in a foreign country which affords similar privileges in the case of applications filed in the United States by nationals of the United States, shall have the same effect as the same application would have if filed in the United States on the date on which the application for plant variety protection for the same variety was first filed in such foreign country, if the application in this country is filed within twelve months from the earliest date on which such foreign application was filed, not including the date on which the application is filed in the foreign country.

(2) No application shall be entitled to a right of priority under this section, unless the applicant designates the foreign application in the application filed in the United States or by amendment thereto and, if required by the Secretary, furnishes such copy, translation or both, as the Secretary may specify.

(3)(A) An applicant entitled to a right of priority under this subsection shall be allowed to furnish any necessary information, document, or material required for the purpose of the examination of the application during—

(i) the 2-year period beginning on the date of the expiration of the period of priority; or

(ii) if the first application is rejected or withdrawn, an appropriate period after the rejection or withdrawal, to be determined by the Secretary.


(B) An event occurring within the period of priority (such as the filing of another application or use of the variety that is the subject of the first application) shall not constitute a ground for rejecting the application or give rise to any third party right.

(b) An application for a certificate of plant variety protection for the same variety as was the subject of an application previously filed in the United States by or on behalf of the same person, or by the predecessor in title of the person, shall have the same effect as to such variety as though filed on the date of the prior application if filed before the issuance of the certificate or other termination of proceedings on the first application or on an application similarly entitled to the benefit of the filing date of the first application and if it contains or is amended to contain a specific reference to the earlier filed application.

(c) A later application shall not by itself establish that a characteristic newly described was in the variety at the time of the earlier application.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §55, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1548; Pub. L. 103–349, §§5, 13(i), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3139, 3143.)

Amendments

1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–349, §5(1), designated first sentence as par. (1) and second sentence as par. (2).

Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 103–349, §5(2), inserted before period at end ", not including the date on which the application is filed in the foreign country".

Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 103–349, §13(i)(1), substituted "in the application filed in the United States" for "in his application".

Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 103–349, §5(3), added par. (3).

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–349, §13(i)(2), substituted "the predecessor in title of the person" for "his predecessor in title".

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

§2426. Confidential status of application

Applications for plant variety protection and their contents shall be kept in confidence by the Plant Variety Protection Office, by the Board, and by the offices in the Department of Agriculture to which access may be given under regulations. No information concerning the same shall be given without the authority of the owner, unless necessary under special circumstances as may be determined by the Secretary, except that the Secretary may publish the variety names designated in applications, stating the kind to which each applies, the name of the applicant, and whether the applicant specified that the variety is to be sold by variety name only as a class of certified seed.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §56, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1549; Pub. L. 96–574, §12, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3350.)

Amendments

1980Pub. L. 96–574 inserted provisions relating to name of applicant and sale of the variety.

§2427. Publication

The Secretary may establish regulations for the publication of information regarding any pending application when publication is requested by the owner.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §57, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1549; Pub. L. 96–574, §13, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3350.)

Amendments

1980Pub. L. 96–574 inserted "information regarding" after "publication of".

Part F—Examinations; Response Time; Initial Appeals

§2441. Examination of application

The Secretary shall cause an examination to be made of the application and if on such examination it is determined that the applicant is entitled to plant variety protection under the law, the Secretary shall issue a notice of allowance of plant variety protection therefor as hereinafter provided.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §61, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1549.)

§2442. Notice of refusal; reconsideration

(a) Whenever an application is refused, or any objection or requirement made by the examiner, the Secretary shall notify the applicant thereof, stating the reasons therefor, together with such information and references as may be useful in judging the propriety of continuing the prosecution of the application; and if after receiving such notice the applicant requests reconsideration, with or without amendment, the application shall be reconsidered.

(b) For taking appropriate action after the mailing to an applicant of an action other than allowance, the applicant shall be allowed at least 30 days, and not more than 180 days, or such other time as the Secretary shall set in the refusal, or such time as the Secretary may allow as an extension. Without such extension, action may be taken up to three months late by paying an additional fee to be prescribed by the Secretary.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §62, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1549; Pub. L. 103–349, §§6, 13(j), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3140, 3143.)

Amendments

1994—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–349 in first sentence substituted "mailing to an applicant" for "mailing to him", "the applicant shall" for "an applicant shall", "at least 30 days, and not more than 180 days" for "six months", "the Secretary shall" for "the Secretary in exceptional circumstances shall", and "as the Secretary may" for "as he may".

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

§2443. Initial appeal

When an application for plant variety protection has been refused by the Plant Variety Protection Office, the applicant may appeal to the Secretary. The Secretary shall seek the advice of the Plant Variety Protection Board on all appeals, before deciding the appeal.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §63, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1550.)

Part G—Appeals to Courts and Other Review

§2461. Appeals

From the decisions made under sections 2404, 2443, 2501, and 2568 of this title appeal may, within sixty days or such further times as the Secretary allows, be taken under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit shall have jurisdiction of any such appeal.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §71, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1550; Pub. L. 97–164, title I, §145, Apr. 2, 1982, 96 Stat. 45; Pub. L. 103–349, §8(d)(1), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3141.)

Amendments

1994Pub. L. 103–349 struck out "2502," after "2501,".

1982Pub. L. 97–164 substituted "The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit shall have jurisdiction of any such appeal" for "The Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and United States Courts of Appeals shall have jurisdiction, with venue in the case of the latter as stated in section 2343 of title 28".

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

Effective Date of 1982 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 97–164 effective Oct. 1, 1982, see section 402 of Pub. L. 97–164, set out as a note under section 171 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

§2462. Civil action against Secretary

An applicant dissatisfied with a decision under section 2443 or 2501 of this title, may, as an alternative to appeal, have remedy by civil action against the Secretary in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Such action shall be commenced within sixty days after such decision or within such further time as the Secretary allows. The court may, in the case of review of a decision by the Secretary refusing plant variety protection, adjudge that such applicant is entitled to receive a certificate of plant variety protection for the variety as specified in the application as the facts of the case may appear, on compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §72, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1550; Pub. L. 103–349, §13(k), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3143.)

Amendments

1994Pub. L. 103–349, which directed that the second sentence be amended by substituting "the variety as specified in the application" for "his variety as specified in his application", was executed by making the substitution in the third sentence, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

§2463. Repealed. Pub. L. 103–349, §8(c)(2), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3141

Section, Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §73, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1550; Pub. L. 103–349, §8(c)(1), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3140, related to appeal or civil action in contested cases. Prior to repeal, subsec. (b) of this section was transferred to section 2504 of this title by Pub. L. 103–349, §8(c)(1), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3140.

Effective Date of Repeal

Repeal effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as an Effective Date of 1994 Amendment note under section 2401 of this title.

Part H—Certificates of Plant Variety Protection

§2481. Plant variety protection

(a) If it appears that a certificate of plant variety protection should be issued on an application, a written notice of allowance shall be given or mailed to the owner. The notice shall specify the sum, constituting the issue fee, which shall be paid within one month thereafter.

(b) Upon timely payment of this sum, and provided that deposit of seed has been made in accordance with section 2422(3) 1 of this title, the certificate of plant variety protection shall issue.

(c) If any payment required by this section is not timely made, but is submitted with an additional fee prescribed by the Secretary within nine months after the due date or within such further time as the Secretary may allow, it shall be accepted.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §81, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1551.)

References in Text

Section 2422(3) of this title, referred to in subsec. (b), was redesignated section 2422(4) of this title by Pub. L. 103–349, §4, Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3139.

1 See References in Text note below.

§2482. How issued

A certificate of plant variety protection shall be issued in the name of the United States of America under the seal of the Plant Variety Protection Office, and shall be signed by the Secretary or have the signature of the Secretary placed thereon, and shall be recorded in the Plant Variety Protection Office.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §82, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1551; Pub. L. 103–349, §13(l), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3143.)

Amendments

1994Pub. L. 103–349 substituted "the signature of the Secretary" for "his signature".

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

§2483. Contents and term of plant variety protection

(a) Certificate

(1) Every certificate of plant variety protection shall certify that the breeder (or the successor in interest of the breeder),1 has the right, during the term of the plant variety protection, to exclude others from selling the variety, or offering it for sale, or reproducing it, or importing it, or exporting it, or using it in producing (as distinguished from developing) a hybrid or different variety therefrom, to the extent provided by this chapter.

(2) If the owner so elects, the certificate shall—

(A) specify that seed of the variety shall be sold in the United States only as a class of certified seed; and

(B) if so specified, conform to the number of generations designated by the owner.


(3) An owner may waive a right provided under this subsection, other than a right that is elected by the owner under paragraph (2)(A).

(4) The Secretary may at the discretion of the Secretary permit such election or waiver to be made after certificating and amend the certificate accordingly, without retroactive effect.

(b) Term

(1) In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), the term of plant variety protection shall expire 20 years from the date of issue of the certificate in the United States, except that—

(A) in the case of a tuber propagated plant variety subject to a waiver granted under section 2402(a)(1)(B)(i) of this title, the term of the plant variety protection shall expire 20 years after the date of the original grant of the plant breeder's rights to the variety outside the United States; and

(B) in the case of a tree or vine, the term of the plant variety protection shall expire 25 years from the date of issue of the certificate.

(2) Exceptions

If the certificate is not issued within three years from the effective filing date, the Secretary may shorten the term by the amount of delay in the prosecution of the application attributed by the Secretary to the applicant.

(c) Expiration upon failure to comply with regulations; notice

The term of plant variety protection shall also expire if the owner fails to comply with regulations, in force at the time of certificating, relating to replenishing seed in a public repository, or requiring the submission of a different name for the variety, except that this expiration shall not occur unless notice is mailed to the last owner recorded as provided in section 2531(d) of this title and the last owner fails, within the time allowed thereafter, not less than three months, to comply with said regulations, paying an additional fee to be prescribed by the Secretary.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §83, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1551; Pub. L. 96–574, §14, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3350; Pub. L. 103–349, §§7, 13(m), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3140, 3143; Pub. L. 104–127, title IX, §913(b), Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 1186.)

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–127, §913(b)(1), (2), inserted heading, designated first sentence as par. (1), inserted par. heading, substituted "Except as provided in paragraph (2), the term" for "The term", designated second sentence as par. (2), and inserted par. heading.

Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 104–127, §913(b)(3), which directed the amendment of par. (2) by striking out "except that, in the case" and inserting "except that—", subpar. (A), and "(B) in the case", was executed to par. (1) to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–349, §7(1)(A), designated first through fourth sentences as pars. (1) to (4), respectively.

Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 103–349, §13(m)(1)(A), which directed the substitution of "(or the successor in interest of the breeder)" for "(or his successor in interest) his heirs and assignees", was executed by making the substitution for "(or his successor in interest) his heirs or assignees", to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Subsec. (a)(2), (3). Pub. L. 103–349, §7(1)(B), added pars. (2) and (3) and struck out former pars. (2) and (3) which read as follows:

"(2) If the owner so elects, the certificate shall also specify that in the United States, seed of the variety shall be sold by variety name only as a class of certified seed and, if specified, shall also conform to the number of generations designated by the owner.

"(3) Any rights, or all rights except those elected under the preceding sentence, may be waived; and the certificate shall conform to such waiver."

Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 103–349, §13(m)(1)(B), substituted "the discretion of the Secretary" for "his discretion".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–349, §7(2), in first sentence substituted "20 years" for "eighteen years" and inserted before period at end ", except that, in the case of a tree or vine, the term of the plant variety protection shall expire 25 years from the date of issue of the certificate".

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 103–349, §§7(3), 13(m)(2), substituted "repository, or requiring the submission of a different name for the variety, except that" for "repository: Provided, however, That" and "the last owner" for "he" before "fails".

1980—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 96–574 substituted "eighteen" for "seventeen".

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

1 So in original. The comma probably should not appear.

§2484. Correction of Plant Variety Protection Office mistake

Whenever a mistake in a certificate of plant variety protection incurred through the fault of the Plant Variety Protection Office is clearly disclosed by the records of the Office, the Secretary may issue, without charge, a corrected certificate of plant variety protection, stating the fact and nature of such mistake. Such certificate of plant variety protection shall have the same effect and operation in law as if the same had been originally issued in such corrected form.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §84, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1552; Pub. L. 96–574, §15, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3350.)

Amendments

1980Pub. L. 96–574 substituted provisions relating to correction of Plant Variety Protection Office mistake for provisions relating to certificate of correction of Plant Variety Protection Office mistake.

§2485. Correction of applicant's mistake

Whenever a mistake of a clerical or typographical nature, or of minor character, or in the description of the variety, which was not the fault of the Plant Variety Protection Office, appears in a certificate of plant variety protection and a showing has been made that such mistake occurred in good faith, the Secretary may, upon payment of the required fee, issue a corrected certificate if the correction could have been made before the certificate issued. Such certificate of plant variety protection shall have the same effect and operation in law as if the same had been originally issued in such corrected form.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §85, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1552; Pub. L. 96–574, §16, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3351.)

Amendments

1980Pub. L. 96–574 struck out applicability of section 2484 of this title to manner and form of certificate, and reference to trials of actions thereafter arising with respect to effect and operation in law of certificate.

§2486. Correction of named breeder

An error as to the naming of a breeder in the application, without deceptive intent, shall not affect validity of plant variety protection and may be corrected at any time by the Secretary in accordance with regulations established by the Secretary or upon order of a federal court before which the matter is called in question. Upon such correction the Secretary shall issue a certificate accordingly. Such correction shall not deprive any person of any rights the person otherwise would have had.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §86, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1552; Pub. L. 103–349, §13(n), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3143.)

Amendments

1994Pub. L. 103–349 substituted "the Secretary" for "him" in first sentence and "the person" for "he" in third sentence.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

Part I—Reexamination After Issue, and Contested Proceedings

§2501. Reexamination after issue

(a) Any person may, within five years after the issuance of a certificate of plant variety protection, notify the Secretary in writing of facts which may have a bearing on the protectability of the variety, and the Secretary may cause such plant variety protection to be reexamined in the light thereof.

(b) Reexamination of plant variety protection under this section and appeals shall be pursuant to the same procedures and with the same rights as for original examinations. Abandonment of the procedure while subject to a ruling against the retention of the certificate shall result in cancellation of the plant variety certificate thereon and notice thereof shall be endorsed on copies of the description of the protected plant variety thereafter distributed by the Plant Variety Protection Office.

(c) If a person acting under subsection (a) makes a prima facie showing of facts needing proof, the Secretary may direct that the reexamination include such interparty proceedings as the Secretary shall establish.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §91, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1552; Pub. L. 96–574, §17, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3351; Pub. L. 103–349, §13(o), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3144.)

Amendments

1994—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 103–349 substituted "the Secretary" for "he".

1980—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 96–574 substituted "description" for "specification".

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.

§§2502, 2503. Repealed. Pub. L. 103–349, §8(a), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3140

Section 2502, Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §92, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1553, related to priority contest.

Section 2503, Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §93, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1553; Pub. L. 96–574, §18, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3351, related to effect of adverse final judgment or of nonaction.

Effective Date of Repeal

Repeal effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as an Effective Date of 1994 Amendment note under section 2401 of this title.

§2504. Interfering plant variety protection

(a) The owner of a certificate of plant variety protection may have relief against another owner of a certificate of the same variety by civil action, and the court may adjudge the question of validity of the respective certificates, or the ownership of the certificate.

(b) Such suit may be instituted against the party in interest as shown by the record of the Plant Variety Protection Office at the time of the decision complained of, but any party in interest may become a party to the action. If there be adverse parties residing in a plurality of districts not embraced within the same State, or an adverse party residing in a foreign country, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, or any United States district court to which it may transfer the case, shall have jurisdiction and may issue summons against the adverse parties directed to the marshall of any district in which any adverse party resides. Summons against adverse parties residing in foreign countries may be served by publication or otherwise as the court directs. The Secretary shall not be made a party but the Secretary shall have the right to intervene. Judgment of the court in favor of the right of an applicant to plant variety protection shall authorize the Secretary to issue a certificate of plant variety protection on the filing in the Plant Variety Protection Office of a certified copy of the judgment and on compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

(Pub. L. 91–577, title II, §92, formerly §94, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1553; renumbered §92 and amended Pub. L. 103–349, §§8(b), (c)(1), 13(p), Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3140, 3144.)

Codification

The text of subsec. (b) of section 2463 of this title, which was transferred to subsec. (b) of this section by Pub. L. 103–349, §8(c)(1), was based on section 73(b) of Pub. L. 91–577, title II, Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1550.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 92 of Pub. L. 91–577 was classified to section 2502 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 103–349.

Amendments

1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–349, §8(b)(2), designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and struck out at end "The provisions of section 2463(b) of this title shall apply to actions brought under this section."

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–349, §§8(c)(1), 13(p), transferred subsec. (b) of section 2463 of this title to subsec. (b) of this section, and substituted "the Secretary" for "he" before "shall have" in fourth sentence. See Codification note above.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–349 effective 180 days after Oct. 6, 1994, see section 15 of Pub. L. 103–349, set out as a note under section 2401 of this title.