After five years of starting with the intention of modifying the Plant Varieties Federal Law (PVFL) and having in mind the harmonization of the Mexican legal framework with UPOV 1991 as a main purpose, finally, on October 12, 2011 the Agricultural and Livestock Commission of the Chamber of Senators approved a bill of the PVFL which includes the required harmonization with UPOV 1991 and the subject matter of two bills previously received by the Mexican Congress.

The first bill received by the Congress was a proposal made by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI by its acronyms in Spanish) on February 22, 2007; and, the second bill received was another proposal made by the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD by its acronyms in Spanish) on September 22, 2009.

The Agricultural and Livestock Commission of the Senate, in its character of responsible for reviewing the proposals, analyzed and validated both documents and enacted its approval in an internal report on October 12, 2011, which was sent to the corresponding legislative authorities, following the legislative process.

The main objectives of the reforms approved by the Agricultural and Livestock Commission and included in the bill, can be resumed in the following points:

  1. Harmonization with UPOV 1991.
  2. Increase in the duration of the protection: 25 years for perennial plants (trees and vines) and 20 years for other plants.
  3. Increase in the scope of the material covered: All propagating material and harvested material.
  4. Reinforcement of the faculties of SNICS (Servicio Nacional de Inspección y Certificación de Semillas) for inspection and surveillance proceedings.
  5. Inclusion of a new definition for a plant variety.
  6. Inclusion of a definition for essentially derived varieties
  7. Inclusion of the protection for edible fungus.
  8. Inclusion as a punishment of the suspension of business by a commercial house as well as an increase in the fines.
  9. Inclusion of the figure of compulsory licenses.

As it can be seen from the above, at present the environment for the plant varieties protection is very active in Mexico; however, this activity is not a warranty that the bill under approval at the Mexican Congress will be enacted in a very short time. It will depend on the activities carried out by the interested parties (lobbying) and the economical and political conditions of the country.

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.