New Plant Varieties
– Act Relating to the Plant Breeder's Right of March 12, 1993 No. 32, last amended July 1, 2015.
Membership in International Conventions
– International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1978 Act, since September 13, 1993.
Scope: any person who has bred a plant variety or to whom the breeder’s right has passed (the variety owner) may, upon application, be granted the sole right to exploit the variety commercially by: (a) producing plant material of the variety with a view to offering it for sale or otherwise marketing it for purposes of propagation; (b) importing plant material of the variety with a view to offering it for sale or otherwise marketing it for purposes of propagation; or (c) offering for sale or otherwise marketing plant material of the variety for purposes of propagation. The plant breeder’s right is granted in respect of plant varieties belonging to specific plant genera or plant species. It may only be granted to variety owners who: (a) are resident or have their registered office in Norway; or (b) are nationals of, or are resident, or have their registered office in a state which is a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. Conditions of protection: the plant breeder’s right may only be granted in respect of varieties which: (a) can be clearly distinguished from all other varieties that were known before the date of application; (b) are sufficiently uniform; (c) are stable in the characteristics enabling the variety to be clearly distinguished from the other varieties specified in litra (a), when propagated as indicated by the variety owner; and (d) have not been sold or offered for sale with the consent of the variety owner, in Norway before the date of application, or abroad more than six years before the date of application in the case of vines, trees and their rootstocks, or more than four years before the date of application in the case of other plants. Origin of plant material: origin of the plant material which forms basis for the variety and traditional knowledge used in the breeding according to the Patents Act are mandatory to declare. Breach of duty of information is punishable by the courts. The plant material may be required for presentation and submittance of information enabling a study of the variety must be presented. An exception prevails if a Convention priority is claimed, in which case a term of maximum four years may be granted in order to meet the requirements. Filing Office: Plant Variety Board.
Filing requirements for an application (recommended to be sent to resident agent. An address for correspondence is mandatory.):
1. A description of the variety (only 1 variety per application), specifying the characteristics which distinguish it from other varieties;
2. A proposed variety denomination;
3. Breeder’s name and address;
4. If the applicant is not the breeder, the basis for his title to the variety;
5. A disclosure of such prior exploitation of the variety as may be an obstacle to the granting, or a statement that the variety has not been so exploited;
6. Payment of the prescribed fee.
Note: each application must be written in Norwegian and may only relate to the protection of one variety.
The Plant Variety Board may order the applicant to provide, within a prescribed period, the plant material and give the information necessary for the examination of the variety. An applicant who claims priority may not be ordered to do this in connection with his application, and may not be ordered to do it earlier than four years after the expiry of the period of priority unless the application on which the priority is based has been rejected or withdrawn. Variety denomination: it shall enable the variety to be distinguished from other varieties.
Examination and Granting
Provisional examination: if the applicant fails, within the time limit, to submit comments or to correct a defect which has been notified, the application shall be shelved. However, the processing of the application shall be resumed if, within four months from the expiration of the said time limit, the applicant submits comments or makes the corrections and also pays the fees for resumption of the processing prescribed by regulations. If after doing so, an obstacle remains to the acceptance of the application, it shall be rejected unless the Plant Variety Board finds that the applicant should be given a further opportunity. Publication: if the application does not point to any obstacle to its acceptance, the Plant Variety Board shall publish a notice concerning the application. Examination of the variety: as to its conformity with the conditions of protection. The applicant shall pay for the prescribed examination fee. Further processing: resumed after examination. Examination results from other States may have to be submitted. If the plant breeder’s right is granted, the variety shall be entered in the Register of Plant Varieties. The decision shall be published, together with a notice that objections to the granting of the right may be lodged within a prescribed time limit. Reconsideration: if an objection to the granting is submitted in writing to the Plant Variety Board within the prescribed time limit, the application shall be reconsidered with a view to deciding on the objection. Appeal: a decision made by the Plant Variety Board can be appealed to the Board of Appeal. If the Board of Appeal rejects an application upon appeal, the applicant may institute legal proceedings concerning such rejection within two months from the date on which notification of the rejection was sent to him. Observe that the Board of Appeal (KFIR) is no longer part of the Patent Office, but an independent legal entity. It is essential that with an appeal, all required documents should be provided, as KFIR does not necessarily request a complete file copy from the Patent Office. For further details, see: www.kfir.no/english-summary.aspx. Duration: until the end of the twentieth calendar year after the year in which it was granted; twenty-fifth year for trees and vines. Annuities: maintenance fee is payable. Infringement: infringement of plant variety rights is punishable through a fine or imprisonment of normally maximum one year. In certain cases where the infringement is considered by the court to be intentional and very harmful, an imprisonment of maximum three years could be ruled.
Pledging of plant breeder’s rights was made possible as of July 1, 2015. Recordal of such a pledge must be made in the related Patent Register of the Patent Office. Further, any licenses or assignments must also be recorded in the Register.