On 20 October 2021 the European Commission agreed to a proposal from 2016 to extend plant variety rights for certain species by 5 years. EU-wide plant variety rights are regulated by Regulation No 2100/94 on Community plant variety rights).
The amendment concerns flower bulbs, asparagus, woody small fruits (e.g. raspberries and blueberries) and woody ornamentals. Due to the extension, the species are now protected for a period of 30 years instead of the original 25 years. The Regulation governing the extension will enter into force on 15 November 2021. For trees, vines and potatoes, the longer term already applied.
The reason for the extension is the time-consuming cultivation process of the plants and bulbs concerned. The development into a distinctive, uniform and stable variety (required for the granting of plant variety rights) and multiplication can take several years. Achieving market potential is also an uncertain, lengthy process.
The extra 5 years should help to recoup the investments made in, for example, R&D (research and development). It should now become more attractive for growers to make investments and deploy resources in order to create new varieties. All in all, according to the European Parliament, the extension will lead to a growth in innovation.