Despite the EU’s strict policies on growing genetically modified crops and uncertainty surrounding the use of genetic resources in plant breeding, there is considerable commercial interest in these technical areas and in IP protection for the output of biotech research and classical breeding programs.
Improvement of crop and ornamental species by genetic modification or modern breeding techniques remains a significant area of innovation. New varieties may be protected using Plant Variety Rights (PVRs), which are part of the IP tool kit, alongside patents, available for protecting plant innovation. Mewburn Ellis is well placed to assist our clients in obtaining these rights.
Some members of our renowned life sciences patent team have a particular focus on plant science and are able to help apply for PVRs in both the UK and Europe, under the UPOV Convention.
Our PVR team is headed by Lindsey Woolley, who has post-doctoral research experience in plant biotechnology, and Frances Salisbury, who has a PhD in molecular plant genetics. Frances has completed the official World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) course on Plant Variety Protection under the UPOV Convention.
As well as a sound academic background and genuine interest in plant science, the team also has practical experience in advising clients on obtaining these rights.
We are proud of the service we offer to all our clients whether they are university departments, innovative start-ups or large corporate institutions. Our PVR team aims to work flexibly to meet the business goals and needs of our clients working in the agricultural science sector.
In this article, which appeared in Intellectual Property Magazine (February 2014), Lindsey Woolley and Frances Salisbury consider the ongoing debate over what is patentable for plant-related inventions.