This post was last published on September 1st, 2014.
Innovation has always been focused on existing plant varieties which scientists use for improvements and for which breeders’ exemption (the right to use protected plant varieties in their research and claim ownership of the results) is granted. But patents don’t provide for a breeders’ exemption and researchers will have to pay for access to patented materials used in their research if they are allowed access at all. Patent stacking has become common practice – it refers to taking out patents for different aspects of a single innovation, forcing several royalty applications and payments.
From the very beginning Plant Variety Protection Law has contained a special provision that the breeder’s rights shall not extend to acts done for the purpose of breeding, or discovering and developing other plant varieties. It already appeared in Art. 5(3) of the 1961 UPOV Convention and can still be found in Art. 15(1)(iii) of the 1991 UPOV Convention and in Art. 15(c) of Regulation 2100/94 on Community Plant Variety Rights  OJ L227/1. It speaks for itself that this rule has also been laid down in many national Plant Variety Protection regulations ever since.