Plant variety protection “i.e. plant breeder's right,” is a form of intellectual property right granted to the breeder of a new plant variety to have the exclusive rights to exploit the protected variety; prohibit third parties from exploiting the plant varieties without their prior consent and authorization; license or assign the plant varieties and take legal proceedings in relation to any infringement. Further, owners have the right to engage in the marketing, importation and exportation of plant varieties.
The UAE provides protection for plant varieties and plant breeders as it is a member of international agreements such as the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, the UAE is still not a member of International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, “UPOV.”
As to the national legislation, the UAE applies the Federal Law No. 17 of 2009 on the Protection of Plant Varieties “i.e. hereinafter as the Law” and its Executive Regulations by Virtue of Ministerial Decision No. 598 of 2012.
According to the Ministerial Decision No. 377 of 2017 adopted on July 10, 2017, the Director of the “Agricultural Development & Health - Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE)” is the competent Registrar for the registration of new plant varieties and plant breeders in the UAE.
The (MOCCAE) has announced that it will reduce the fees for 44 of its services and waive the fees for another six starting from May 1, 2021, in line with the Cabinet Resolution No. 30 of 2021 on fees for MOCCAE's services.
Among the services with waived fees are the registration and examination of a new plant variety (previously AED10,000 each). The fees for these services were canceled in order to encourage the creation of new varieties and their registration.
Moreover, the fees for the permit to use Organic logo for organic products (previously AED5,000) will be waived as well to promote organic agriculture and to encourage the use of organic inputs in local agricultural production.
A plant variety is eligible for protection and registration in the UAE, if following conditions are met: 1) It is new, 2) It is unique or distinctive, 3. It is homogeneous or uniform, 4. It is stable, 5. It is harmless to health or environment, and 6. It is not contrary to Islamic law or to the applicable law in the UAE.
The period of protection provided under the said Law is twenty years for agriculture yields from the date of grant of plant breeder's rights. Excluded are varieties of shrubs and trees which are granted twenty-five years of protection from the date of grant of plant breeder's rights.
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