Plant Variety Protections Likely to Improve

This news comes to us from our colleagues at the Beijing Intellectual Property Institute (BIPI) (北京务实知识产权发展中心).

A revised draft Seed Law was completed by the NPC Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee in January 2014.  It was transferred to the State Council for review in August, and is expected to be submitted for reading by the Standing Committee of the NPC in April 2015.

The draft of the Seed Law is revised from eight aspects to improve the level of legal protection for plant varieties, including creating a new chapter on this topic.  The new draft explicitly stipulates the content, ownership and grant conditions for plant variety protection (PVP) including application, examination, grant, implementation, infringement and exceptions, the period of protection, termination and invalidation.  The draft also increases the penalties for the infringement and counterfeiting (passing off).

The draft is also reported to reflect some of the advancements of the 1991 International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties Union (UPOV Convention).  China is a signatory to the 1978 UPOV Convention.  Contemplated improvements include extension of the period of protection to 5 years; the object of protection is extended from propagation material to receiving goods; the content of protection is from commercial production and sale to production, propagation, sale, and commitments to sell, in order to strength the protection to the original variety.   As I previously noted, some improvements to China’s UPOV regime may already have been contemplated by the China-Swiss FTA (2013).

Prepared by Mark Cohen and Yao Yao.

The New Swiss-China FTA: What It May Mean for IPR in China

China signed its first FTA with a European country, Switzerland on July 6, 2013.  The FTA is a significant advance in China’s trade diplomacy with the West since China’s FTA with New Zealand (2008).   Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, its close legal, economic and cultural relationships with the EU and its participation in the European Patent Convention, could have a positive impact on harmonizing Chinese practices with European practices in certain areas.  Based on the still skeletal outline provided by the news release from the Swiss government (the release follows the post and the full text has now been release), the FTA seems to advance several important IP interests of Switzerland.  Continue reading