New Plant Varieties

– Plant Varieties (Proprietary Rights) Act, 1980, as amended by the Plant Varieties (Proprietary Rights) (Amendment) Act, 1998, in force since December 14, 2000.
– Plant Varieties (Proprietary Rights) (Amendment) Regulations, 2000, in force since December 26, 2000.

Membership in International Conventions

– International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1978 Act, since November 8, 1981 and 1991 Act, since January 8, 2012.


Kinds of plant: must be one of a limited list of varieties named in the Regulations. (So far, 116 agricultural varieties, 11 ornamental varieties, 7 fruit tree varieties and 19 rose varieties have been admitted to legal protection).

Novelty: must not have been previously used in the State, not sold in any other territory more than a certain number of years (four years for some species, six years for others) and must have characteristics which clearly distinguish it from any other known variety.

Applicant: the breeder or his successor in title, being an Irish citizen or a national of any Convention country, or residing or having a place of business in any such country. 

Priority: may be claimed based on an application filed in a Convention country within the preceding twelve months.

Filing requirements:
1. Form of application;
2. Authorization of agent (if any);
3. If priority is claimed, a certified copy of the original application, with attested translation;
4. Suggested name of new variety, when called for;
5. Application fee.


The application will be examined by the Controller of Plant Breeders’ Rights, who may call for further information, reproductive material, details of tests made in other countries, etc., as he may consider necessary, and will allow a reasonable time for furnishing same. He may order other tests to be carried out at the cost of the applicant. When considering whether the name proposed is suitable, the Controller will have regard to lists commercially in use, but will not search the Register of Trade Marks.


When satisfied that the application is in good order a notice of the application will be advertised in the Official Journal, together with the proposed name of the new variety. Anyone may object to the name within sixty days of the advertisement, failing which the particulars will be entered in the Register on payment of the requisite fee. 

Duration: the maximum period of the grant varies according to the species of plant concerned, being not less than eighteen years for fruit trees, forest trees, ornamental trees and grapevines, and fifteen years for other plants, the maximum period being twenty-five years. 

Renewal fees: must be paid annually after grant to keep the rights in force.

Modification of Protection after Registration

Assignments and licenses: plant breeders’ rights may be assigned or licenses granted, but must be registered in order to be effective.

Compulsory licenses: are also obtainable.

Revocation: the grant may be surrendered by the holder or the Controller may revoke the grant at any time if he finds that he has been given wrong information or that the holder has not carried out conditions attached to the grant or has failed to pay renewal fees due.


The Controller may require an agent to be appointed if the applicant does not reside in or have a place of business in the State.