Intellectual Property (IP) in India: A Decade of Progress Part 7

The post provides updates on the progress of plant varieties filings and registrations in India during the last decade.

The Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights (PPV&FR) Act was enacted in 2001, the PPV&FR Rules were drafted subsequently in 2003.  The PPV&FR Authority was established and made functional in 2005, as per the powers granted to Central Government under section 3 of the PPV&FR Act.

The main objective of the Act is not only to cater to the rights and interests of the breeders and researchers, but also to protect the rights of farmers. Since its inception and the establishment of the PPV&FR Authority there has been a consistent rise in the number of applications per year.

In 2008-09 the numbers of applications received by the Authority were 460. 40 extant varieties were successfully registered. 2008-09 was a momentous year as the National Register of Plant Varieties was opened, under Section 13 of the PPV&FR Act. The details of the registered variety including the name and address of the breeder, name and characteristics of the variety etc were all stated in the Register. The year also saw the National Gene Bank becoming fully functional.

The following year a hike in the number application was seen. 568 applications were filed, out of which 123 extant varieties, 2 new varieties of Bread wheat and 3 traditional Farmer varieties of rice viz. Indrasan, Hansraj and Tilak Chandra were granted registration. With the granting of registration to the three Farmers’ varieties, India became the first country in the world to register Farmers’ Varieties.

The numbers of applications filed for registration, in 2010-11 were 642. However, registration was granted to only 60 extant varieties. Maximum certificates were issued for maize (31), followed by rice (5), bread wheat (5), field pea (5), green gram (3), lentil (3), cotton (2) and one each for black gram, kidney bean, sorghum, French bean, chickpea and garden pea.

The following year, the number of applications filed doubled. Out of 1247, 119 application received registration. Among these 99 were extant varieties and 20 belonged to the new category. The next year, 2012-13, the number of applications plummeted to 785, however the number of registrations saw a considerable increase. The Authority successfully registered 254 certificates; 216 extant varieties, 34 new varieties, 3 farmer varieties and 1 in the EDV category.

In the year 2013-14 the Authority received a staggering 2318 applications. The numbers of varieties registered were 330; 148 extant varieties, 60 new varieties, 76 farmer varieties and 46 to the VCK category. The highest number of certificates were issued in rice (138), followed by pearl millet (31), cotton (29), sugarcane (25), sorghum (23), mustard (17), sunflower (12), groundnut (10), maize (9), rapeseed (8), wheat (7), chickpea & soybean (6 each), jute & linseed (2 each), brinjal, castor, cauliflower, safflower and sesame (1 each).

The chart below gives the details of the number of plant and farmer varieties applied for and registered in the previous years.

Year Total no. of Applications Total no. of Registrations
2008-09 460 40
2009-10 568 128
2010-11 642 60
2011-12 1247 119
2012-13 785 254
2013-14 2318 330

Read Dr. Kalyan’s note on The Case of Indian Intellectual Property

Image Source/ Attribution- here, governed by Creative Commons License CC BY 3.0