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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Variety Testing

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

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Any plant variety that meets the conditions for distinctness, uniformity and stability. The variety meets novelty requirements and has a correct denomination. Novelty means that the variety has not been marketed after the permitted terms.

Mutants are plant varieties that have developed from a different variety through mutation. Such varieties can be protected by Plant Breeders’ Rights under the same conditions. They may also be covered by the definition of an ‘Essentially Derived Variety’ (EDV). In that case the finder of the mutant must make agreements concerning its exploitation with the holder of the Plant Breeders’ Rights of the original variety.

In all cases, where the Plant Breeders’ Rights researcher determines the distinctness by using the regulations of the Dutch Board for Plant Varieties (Rvp) or the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO). Those regulations are derived from the UPOV guidelines. UPOV stands for the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. They established the Plant Breeders’ Rights Convention. UPOV has more than 70 member countries.

After receiving the application forms and payment of the registration and testing fees, the seed or plant material (‘identity material’) is requested from the applicant. At one of the institutes (e.g., Naktuinbouw), the identity material is sown or planted.

In one to two growing seasons, the 'identity material' of the application is tested to see if it meets the requirements of distinctness, uniformity and stability. Also, the proposed variety name is checked. Finally, the conditions of novelty are checked to see if it meets.

If the DUS test lasts several years, an interim report will be sent each year. Once the DUS test is completed, the result is recorded in a final report. If the candidate variety meets the conditions, the positive final report including a variety description will be sent. These documents are the basis for granting Plant Breeders' Rights. If the candidate variety does not meet the conditions, a negative final report will be provided.

Varieties granted with Dutch Plant Breeders' Rights are included in the Dutch Variety Register (NRR) of the Board for Plant Varieties (Rvp). Varieties granted with European Plant Breeders' Rights are added to the Variety Register of the CPVO.

Analysing and recording DNA material or DNA patterns is not part of the DUS test, except for potato. However, plant material can be frozen for later DNA determination under certain conditions. In case of alleged infringements, analysing and comparing DNA can, however, provide (supporting) evidence. This option is increasingly being used.

That is possible, but only under several strict conditions.

In case of an alleged infringement, you may consider contacting the person or company suspected of infringement directly. Therefore, you need to know who the suspected infringer is. At least 90% of alleged infringements are resolved or settled by mutual agreement. At this stage, both parties can ask Naktuinbouw, preferably jointly, for an investigation.

This procedure is not a basis for defence in a subsequent lawsuit. The most potent remedy is to go to court through a specialised law firm in case of alleged infringement. Then, the court may order a formal seizure of material from both parties and/or removal of material from circulation. Naktuinbouw may be requested to perform comparative planting and/or DNA testing on behalf of the court. The court makes the decision in a judgement.

For Plant Breeders' Rights, this is easy to check by consulting the public registers for Plant Breeders' Rights. For Dutch Plant Breeders’ Rights, please see the Dutch Variety Register (NRR) through www.raadvoorplantenrassen.nl/en/. For European Plant Breeders’ Rights, please see the database of CPVO through www.cpvo.europa.eu.

For a patent, it is more complicated: 80 million patents can be seen in ESPACENET. Please see www.epo.org/searching/free/espacenet.html. However, in the database it is not possible to see in which plant varieties patents have been processed. The European Seed Association (ESA) has a database of voluntarily submitted information on varieties with patent elements. See also question: Does an ESA patent database exist?

Plant Breeders’ Rights is valid for a maximum of 25 years from the day that Plant Breeders’ Rights was granted. For some crops (in the Netherlands e.g., trees, potatoes and bulbs), the validity is 30 years.

A patent is valid for a maximum of 20 years from the day that the patent application was submitted. In special cases, the validity may be extended to 25 years.

The answer is no. The question of whether a variety is patented is not as easy to answer as the question of whether a variety is protected by Plant Breeders' Rights. See also question: How do you know if something is protected by Plant Breeders’ Rights or a patent?

The answer is yes. The database is called PINTO, see here. It contains varieties covered by the scope of protection of a patent. The number of varieties included depends on the voluntary cooperation of companies. It is limited to Europe.

The number of patented characteristics in plant material is a few hundred, but it concerns many more varieties. The main difference is the presence of a full breeding exemption in Plant Breeders' Rights and the absence or restriction of a breeding exemption in patent law. Furthermore, the testing preceding the granting differs substantially. Finally, the regulations of patent law differ quite significantly from country to country. This is true to a lesser extent for Plant Breeders' Rights,

Dutch Plant Breeders’ Rights
The application fee is one-off and is € 539. The testing fee is between € 2,000 to € 4,600 on a yearly basis, depending on the type of crop concerned. One year of testing will usually suffice for ornamental crops and two years for vegetables and agricultural crops. No maintenance fees must be paid for Dutch Plant Breeders’ Rights anymore.

European Plant Breeders’ Rights
The application fee is € 450 (online) and € 800 (written). The testing fee is between € 1,900 and € 3,900 on a yearly basis, depending on the type of crop concerned. Again, the number of testing years is usually one for ornamental crops and two for vegetables and agricultural crops. In addition, maintenance fees are due of € 380 during each year of the term of the Plant Breeders’ Rights. The cost of a patent agent and possible court fees depend on several factors. But these costs are lower than patent fees.

Patent
A patent entails costs for application and maintenance. The fee for application is one-off.

If you fill in the application by yourself, the costs for Dutch patent consist of:

  • the application fee of € 80 (online) or € 120 (written); and
  • the mandatory research, prior art, of € 100 (national) or € 794 (international). Your patent is valid for a maximum of 20 years.

The cost of expert help from patent agents can add up. In fact, patent agents charge an hourly rate like that of lawyers. The total costs for a Dutch application are between € 5,000 and € 10,000. In addition, there are also maintenance fees ranging from € 40 to € 1,400 a year. If you wish to dispute the maintenance of a patent in court, this will initially cost you between € 20,000 and € 70,000.

Variety descriptions of the applications for Plant Breeders’ Rights and listing in the Netherlands belong to the Board for Plant Varieties.

The variety descriptions can be found on their website by clicking on 'Dutch Variety Register'. Older variety descriptions can be supplied by Naktuinbouw or the CPVO upon request.

This is depending on the crop. We try to include your material in the regular trials. When this is not possible, we can do a trial especially for you. In this case we possibly will make you a quote.

The duration of the trial is different for each crop. We will inform you about when you can expect the result.

You can contact Inspections. They will arrange the sampling at your premisses.

As a rule, resistance is reported on the Technical Questionnaire (TQ) that accompanies the application.

  • Chapter 5 and 7.3.1 ask, among other things, about resistances in some crops, and testing for resistance is mandatory when there is no option to fill in 'not tested' is. For clarity: resistance is never mandatory for Plant Breeders' Rights or listing, only the test may be mandatory.
  • Under chapter 7.1 you can report resistances for which no protocol has been established. It should be possible to check these resistances in an official test, and therefore the test protocol should be shared with us. This allows us to apply for an additional characteristic at the CPVO.
  • At the bottom of chapter 7.3.1 you can also report other resistances that do not appear in the applicable guideline.

If the application is very similar to an existing variety, but different because of the new characteristic, we have to apply for permission to use an additional characteristic at the CPVO. A similar procedure should be followed for National listing and Plant Breeders’ Rights.

The requirements for any characteristic are described in UPOV TGP/5/10. For resistance characteristics, both the disease and the resistance must be well documented, and the testing must be possible for an official body or possibly under the auspices of an official body.

We would like to receive the necessary background information on the new resistance characteristic from the applicant. We can keep that information confidential. We also study other information on the subject. Based on this, we assess the feasibility of the test. The costs and risks of the test should be proportional to the importance of the resistance in the DUS test. The test methodology should be suitable for establishing uniformity.

Then, the CPVO assesses whether the characteristic meets the requirements in the UPOV TGP/5/10. Although they use the same criteria as our own assessment, the outcome is still not always predictable, because the CPVO will also put a weight on the prospects for harmonisation of testing between member states.

After accepting a resistance as an additional characteristic, we will perform the resistance test and include the result in the variety description.

Additional characteristics are not automatically added to the current CPVO protocol for variety description. Such a final addition to the protocol does not depend on one application but depends on the state of the art in breeding.

If the test by an official body is not feasible, permission may be sought from the CPVO for a blind test at the applicant's premises or elsewhere, and visual assessment of the test by an official body.

The answer is no. Only the notification under chapter 5 and sometimes in chapter 7.3.1 is mandatory. Otherwise, you are free not to report a resistance.

If a resistance is not mandatory, it may still be useful to report it to us. The more we know about a variety, the better we can protect it from possible infringement. We can also conduct our testing more efficiently. Moreover, we are in a better position to make timely regulatory adjustments to new breeding issues.

There may be good reasons for this, for example because only one harmonised testing protocol is used in registration, while the interpretation of the results may differ for different climate zones. Nevertheless, we obviously always continue to strive for agreement.

We check all mandatory resistance characteristics by means of an official test. Additional characteristics are also checked by us. We also check all information we need when selecting comparing varieties, and for distinguishing the new application from the best comparing variety. Other information is not checked or randomly checked. We aim to perform official resistance testing before the start of the first growth cycle.

If there appears to be full correlation between a resistance test (biotest) and a marker test on a resistance gene, we may sometimes use a marker test. Naktuinbouw is strictly following the CPVO protocol in this respect. A biotest and marker test are in some cases both described in the CPVO protocol. We compare the result of our marker test with the TQ data, which must be based on a biotest. In case of contradictions between the marker test and biotest, we still perform a biotest. In such cases, the biotest will prevail, for obvious reasons.

Should there be any contradiction with the statement on the TQ, Naktuinbouw will inform the applicant immediately. This will affect the choice of comparative varieties for the second field trial. Should this also necessitate a third trial, this will affect the total costs of the testing.

The answer is yes. We recommend this in the case of new resistances (i.e., resistances that have not previously been used in the DUS test). Such advance notification allows us to make all the necessary preparations, for example the application of an additional characteristic at the CPVO. This is necessary to include the resistance characteristic in the official variety description.

The answer is yes. The sooner the better. This can be done by letter or e-mail and will be treated no differently from a report on the TQ. At least, if time still allows it. For reports under chapter 7.2, we will check whether we have sufficient information on the testing methodology. Some resistances are not included in the guideline but are known to us. Other resistances are new to us.

The answer is yes. Better late than never. We can include your information in our internal plant variety database. This leads to better protection of your plant variety.

To register as a Naktuinbouw customer to use our Variety Testing services, please complete this form.

You can apply for authorisation by just ticking the box on the Plant Breeders' Rights and/or Authorisation application form. If you wish to apply for authorisation at a later stage, you can send this form to us by e-mail. 

Please refer to this link for the full text of the Decision (2004/842/EC). 

These can be found on this page: Authorisation: marketing material not yet listed varieties, paragraph "About the regulation".

Variety Testing processes the requests for third country synonyms. You can find the fee per third country synonym here.

Applying for a third country synonym can be done by sending a third country synonym application form via e-mail. Naktuinbouw will make sure that applications will be registered strictly confidential. A third country synonym will be checked and processed administratively. If you wish, we will issue a declaration.

Inspections provides the work for authorisation of your vegetable variety. You can find the application fee here, see page 12. 

Yes, an additional fee will be charged for samples which have been sowed for the authorisation request according to the fees Variety Testing 2024.

Variety Testing processes the requests for inclusion on the Internal list. You can find the fee per application here.

Please use the application form Internal Naktuinbouw list. You should also send a technical questionnaire of the variety (a so-called TQ).

In the Netherlands the Lists of names can be ordered via www.internationalplantnames.com. Customers in the EU must state their VAT number with the order. 

The Lists of names can also be collected at Naktuinbouw (Sotaweg 22, Roelofarendsveen) or at Plantentuin Esveld (Rijneveld 72, Boskoop). 

The database containing the names of woody plants and perennials can be consulted at www.internationalplantnames.com.

On this page you will find the fee for determination of varietal trueness and varietal purity.

If you think DNA testing is needed to establish the identity of material: Naktuinbouw is well equipped for this service too. The combination of DNA testing and testing at the trial facility is often recognised in a legal case. Naktuinbouw Variety Tracer is ready to help you.

Would you like to perform a breeder’s co-trial, please indicate this on the application form. You can choose to assess the trial by yourself or have it assessed by the Naktuinbouw inspector. If the breeder’s co-trial is performed abroad, you must always assess the trial by yourself. You assess the distinctness and uniformity and provide supporting evidence in the form of photographs.

Various fees apply to a breeder's co-trial. The fees can be found here.

The fee of an American Plant Breeders' Rights - technical testing can be found here.

If you would like to have two DUS tests in one year, we will charge the (Dutch) testing fees per test at the start of the test. You can find the testing fees on the website of the Board for Plant Varieties.

You can apply for two tests in one year by indicating this on the application form. The application form can be found here.

If ÚKZÚZ or ÚKSÚP performs the second test, you must take into account the submission dates in the Czech Republic (CZ) or Slovak Republic (SK) respectively. Naktuinbouw must be able to send the material to them before these submission dates. You can find the submission dates for the Czech Republic (CZ) and Slovak Republic (SK) on the website of the CPVO.

A request for American Plant Breeders' Rights - technical testing should be submitted by e-mail.

After receiving the request, the request is usually first briefed with the crop responsible and then feedback is provided.

 

 

You can find the fee per resistance test here.

To apply for resistance tests, please send us an e-mail.

We can process most applications for resistance tests or determinations within 6 to 12 months. If a test is urgent, we will try to adjust the test schedule.

The fees of resistance tests, isolates and inoculum can be found here.

Please send us an e-mail to apply for a resistance test or an isolate delivery.

The delivery time for most of the isolates is 1-2 weeks. For fresh material of obligate parasites like Bremia lactucae and Peronospora effusa the delivery time may be longer.

If you would like to receive more information, please send us an e-mail.

If you would like to receive more information, please send us an e-mail.

Please send us an e-mail to apply for an isolate determination test.

If you would like to receive more information, please send us an e-mail.

Yes, a sample of one hundred seeds is required for each resistance test of a seed propagated crop. In our testings, we use at least twenty plants per test. This number is the prescribed minimum for assessing uniformity of seed propagated crops. We request more seeds because of repetitive tests that are required in some cases. We also take disappointing germination rates always into account.

For vegetatively propagated varieties, we use a comparable number of plants.