The Farm saved seed exception: the difference between plant breeders' rights and patent law

The GNIS October 2007 letter is about farm saved seed and the law. It is interesting as it clearly explains what can be done. Except, one important fact is omitted.

In the last chart, it is stated that farm saved seed if prohibited for any patented variety (if one looks closely, one understands that this fact only concerns the USA, Australia and Japan). The chart does not specify that French (article L. 613-5-1 Code de propriété intellellectuelle) and (EC law EC Directive 98/44 (art. 11.1)) both allow farmers to produce farm saved seed containing GM patented elements.

"Art. L. 613-5-1 Code de propriété intellectuelle.

Par dérogation aux dispositions des articles L. 613-2-2 et L. 613-2-3, la vente ou tout autre acte de commercialisation de matériel de reproduction végétal par le titulaire du brevet, ou avec son consentement, à un agriculteur à des fins d'exploitation agricole implique pour celui-ci l'autorisation d'utiliser le produit de sa récolte pour la reproduction ou la multiplication par lui-même sur sa propre exploitation.

The result is quite paradoxical: a farmer can reproduce a seed with a GM patented element, but can’t reproduce seed of a French variety protected by a plant breeder’s right. (With regards to the patent, a farmer can only reproduce the seed if he satisfies the obligations set out in EC Regulation 2100/94).

French patent law is therefore more open to farm saved seed than French plant breeders’ rights...

NB: EC law allows for farm saved seed (within certain limits) in patent law and plant breeders’ rights law

French law only provides the exception in patent law.

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