Overview of The Seeds and Seedling Act
Japan became a member of The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants on 3 September, 1982 which was established by The International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as UPOV Convention) and on the same date The Seeds and Seedlings Act commenced. The Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act (hereinafter referred to as PVPSA) was enacted in 1978 and revised in 1998 in accordance with the UPOV Convention. As a result, The Seeds and Seedlings Act was consolidated by PVPSA in the year 1998.
This article is divided into two parts. The first part will be an overview of The Seeds and Seedling Law and the second part will be an overview of the PVPSA.
PURPOSE OF THE SEEDS AND SEEDLING LAW
The purpose of this Law is to promote the rational distribution of seeds and seedlings, as well as the breeding of plant varieties, by establishing regulations for labelling specified seeds and seedlings, as well as providing a mechanism for the registration of plant varieties in order to contribute towards the development of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE SEEDS AND SEEDLINGS LAW
REGISTRATION OF NEW PLANT VARIETIES
Various sections of the Act deal with the registration process associated with new plant varieties.
SECTION 7: This section provides that the plant breeder or their successor (in case the breeders or successors are two or more in number, the application shall be filed jointly) can file an aplication for registration of the new plant variety addressed to the Minister of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries.
As per the amendment of PVPSA in the year 2020, the variety description must be included in the application. The variety description records the characteristics of the plant variety that are essential for examination.
SECTION 10: Sub-section 1 of this section enumerates all the cases where registration is not granted because the denomination of the variety is:
i) More than one or there is no denomination
ii) Identical or similar to the registered trademark pertaining to seeds and seedlings of the variety under consideration, or a registered trademark pertaining to goods similar to the said seeds and seedlings
iii) Identical or similar to a registered trademark related to a service concerning the seeds and seedlings or goods similar to the said seeds and seedlings that are the subject of an application.
iv) Capable of misleading or causing confusing related to its identification (not applicable where paragraph ii is applicable).
SECTION 12-4: This section states that the new variety will be registered by the Minister if all conditions under Section 7 are fulfilled.
The variety shall be registered for a period of fifteen years.
If no errors are discovered after the application is submitted, a public announcement is made indicating that the variety is in the application process.
SECTION 12-5: This section bars any person other than the person who has been granted the registration to transfer for consolidation, make an offer to transfer for consolidation, produce, import etc. any part or whole of the registered plant variety.
EXAMINATION OF REGISTERED VARIETY
SECTION 12-9: This section provides that the Minister has the power to call upon the person under whose name a variety has been registered to furnish a part or whole of the registered variety and additional materials in case he deems it necessary to examine whether the characteristics of a plant of the registered plant variety are being maintained or not. In this regard, the Minister can send their officers to conduct on-site inspections or growing tests.
CANCELLATION OF CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION
SECTION 12-10: Under this section, the certificate of registration:
1. Shall be cancelled if either:
i) The characteristics of a plant of the registered variety have become different from the plant that was registered.
ii) Or, the registration fees was not paid by the person who was granted registration of the variety.
2. May be cancelled if:
i) The application of registration does not fulfil all conditions laid down in this law
ii) The person who has been granted registration does not provide the additional materials or does not allow on-site inspections to take place as per Section 12-9
Reasonable time will be given to the person to present his case before his registration is cancelled. The Minister shall make a public announcement after cancellation of the registration.
DELETION OF REGISTRATION
According to this section, the Minister shall delete the registration of variety in case the effective period of registration has expired, registration has been canceled or the person has ceased to exist.
The Seeds and Seedlings Act provides an effective system of contributing towards the development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry by promoting distribution of seeds and seedlings of plant varieties, labelling these seeds and seedlings and also devising an effective mechanism for registering different plant varieties. In the next part we shall discuss the provisions of the PVPSA and provide an overview of the statute.
This article is divided into two parts and aims to provide an overview of the laws relating to plant variety protection in Japan. The first part of this article will provide an outline of The Seeds and Seedlings Law which was enacted with the aim of encouraging the distribution of seeds and seedlings, as well as the breeding of plant varieties.
Plant breeders AND farmers AND variety AND patent AND The Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act, 1998 AND The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants AND UPOV AND The International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.