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Plant Varieties

1. What is a plant variety?

A plant variety is a plant grouping within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank which, irrespective of whether the conditions for the grant of a breeders right are fully met, can be defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given genotype or a combination of genotypes distinguished from any other plant grouping, by the expression of at least one of the said characteristics, and considered as units with regard to its suitability for being propagated without change.

2. Who is the plant breeder?

A plant breeder is the person who breeds, discovers or develops a new plant variety.

3. What type of protection documents is granted for plant varieties?

The protection document granted for plant varieties is plant patent.

4. Who grants plant patents?

Plant patents are granted by King Abdulaziz City for science and Technology (Saudi Patent Office)

5. When is a plant variety patentable?

A plant variety shall be patentable if it is new, distinct, uniform and stable, and proceedings have been taken to designate a denomination for it.

6. When is a plant variety new?

A plant variety is new if, at the date of filing the application or the date of the claimed priority, propagating or harvested materials of the variety have not been sold or otherwise made available to others by the breeder or with his consent, for the purposes of exploiting the variety.

7. When is a plant variety distinct?

A plant variety is distinct if it is clearly distinguishable from any other variety whose existence is a matter of common knowledge at the time of filling the application or the time of the claimed priority.

8. When is a plant variety uniform?

A plant variety is uniform if, subject to the variation that may be expected from the particular features of its propagation, it is sufficiently uniform in its basic characteristics.

9. When is a plant variety stable?

A plant variety is stable if its basic characteristics remain unchanged after repeated propagation or at the end of each given propagation cycle.

10. How is a plant variety named?

A plant variety is denominated by specifying its genus and species. The denomination of the plant variety may consist of one word or a group of words and numbers or a group of letters and numbers with or without meaning, provided that the constituents of the denomination make it possible to identify the variety.

11. What are the rights of plant patent owner?

A plant patent owner has the exclusive rights of:


a) Producing or propagating it.
b) Conditioning it for purposes of propagation.
c) Exporting it.
d) Importing it.
e) Offering it for sale, selling it or any other sort of marketing.
f) Stocking it for any of the above purposes.

That is in addition to his right to initiate an action against any person who infringes the patented variety in the Kingdom without his consent.

12. What is the term of protection for plant patents?

The protection period of plant patents is twenty years from the date of filing the application, and it is twenty five years for protection of trees and vines.

13. May a plant patent be granted to more than one breeder?

Yes, if the subject matter of protection is a joint work of several persons, they shall be equally entitled to the right, unless they have agreed otherwise.

14. When shall a plant patent not be granted?

(a) The protection document shall not be granted if its commercial exploitation violates Shari'ah (Islamic law)
(b) The protection document shall not be granted if its commercial exploitation is harmful to life, to human, animal or plant health, or is substantially harmful to the environment.