New Plant Varieties
– Law approving the UPOV Convention, of December 17, 1975, and of March 23, 2019.
– Title 3 “Plant Variety” of Book XI “Intellectual Property” of the Code of Economic Law, entered into force on January 1, 2015.
– Royal Decree of May 12, 2015.
Membership in International Conventions
– International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1972 Act since December 5, 1976, and 1991 Act since June 2, 2019.
Applicant: the breeder or his successor in title. If the breeder is not the applicant, he must sign an assignment deed, which is essential to obtain an application date.
Foreign applicants: non-EU residents must appoint an agent resident in an EU member State.
Kinds of plants: varieties of all botanical species and genus, including hybrids.
Conditions for protection: the variety has to be distinct, homogeneous, stable and novel. The breeder must also name his variety.
Novelty: a variety is considered as novel if at the filing date, variety constituents or a material of harvest of the variety have not been sold or provided in another way to third parties, by the breeder or with his agreement, for exploiting purposes: (1) in Belgium, more than one year before the filing date; (2) outside Belgium, more than four years before the filing date, or in the cases of trees or vines, more than six years before the filing date.
Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney (not legalized);
2. An application form, which may be signed by the local agent;
3. A form proposing a denomination of the variety (an effective denomination may be proposed later);
4. A technical description on a special form provided for each kind of plant;
5. An assignment deed signed by the breeder if the application is filed by his successor in title. A filing date cannot be obtained without such an assignment deed when needed;
6. A certified true copy of the foreign certificate the priority of which is claimed (may be filed within three months after the application date);
7. Application and examination fees; an additional fee is provided in case of priority.
The grant of a certificate is obtained after examination.
Examination: presently no effective examination is made in Belgium. When the application is of foreign origin the grant of the Belgian certificate is obtained on the basis of the grant in the original country. If the application is of Belgian origin, the examination is made by a foreign organization selected according to the kind of plant.
Opposition: oppositions by third parties are possible within three months after the publication of the essential information relating to a new variety in the “Bulletins des obtentions végétales et des catalogues nationaux”.
Duration: twenty-five years as of the grant of the certificate (or thirty years for trees, vines and potatoes). However, the exclusive right of the breeder will only continue to exist throughout this period if an annual tax is being paid.
Renewal fees: these fees are payable annually from the date of grant. The amounts differ for different kinds of plants.
Appeals: appeals against a decision of the Registrar are handled by the civil courts.
Licenses: any voluntary license has to be notified immediately to the Intellectual Property Office, only written licenses are allowed.
Compulsory licenses: may be granted by the Registrar after the request has been deferred to a special Council and to the Minister.